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Park street rape: Three accused get ten years imprisonment

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Kolkata: The three men convicted in the gang-rape of an Anglo-Indian woman Suzette Jordan on Park Street here were sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment on Friday by a court here.

Pronouncing the quantum of punishment during in-camera proceedings, Additional Sessions Judge Chiranjib Bhattacharya also slapped fines of Rs 1 lakh each on the three accused – Ruman Khan, Naser Khan and Sumit Bajaj.

“The judge after considering all aspects and hearing the accused persons on the quantum of sentence, sent them to 10 years of rigrorous imrpisonment, with fine of Rs1 lakh each under section 376 (2)(g) (of the Indian Penal Code) dealing with gang-rape. In default, they would have to serve another six months of rigorous imprisonment,” said a lawyer associated with the case.

If the fine amount is realised, that would go to the legal heir of the woman, who died on March 13 this year.

On Thursday, the judge had pronounced all three guilty of gang-rape.

While all three were found guilty of gang-rape, Naser and Ruman were also convicted under various sections dealing with criminal conspiracy, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and common intention.

The woman — then 37 years old, a divorcee and mother of two — was beaten up and gang-raped by five men at gun-point inside a moving car and then thrown off the vehicle near a city intersection on the night of February 5, 2012, after she had come out of a night club on fashionable Park Street.

Prime accused Kader Khan and co-accused Mohammed Ali were still absconding.

Both Naser and Ruan were also sentenced to three simultaneous sentences of six months, six months and four months under section 120B (criminal conspiracy), section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and section 506 (criminal intimidation) respectively. The duo was also fined Rs10,000, Rs10,000 and Rs5,000 respectively under the three IPC sections.

“The fines, if realised, would have to be paid to the victim’s legal heirs,” a lawyer said.

All the sentences would run concurrently.

Relatives of each of the accused said they would move an appeal in a higher court.

Ten years rigorous imprisonment is the minimum punishment givne to a person convicted under section 376 (2)(g).

The judge earlier in the day asked each of the accused youth what they had to say about their possible quantum of punishment. All three pleaded their innocence and prayed for minimum punishment considering their age and family situation.

(IANS)

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Inside ‘Pitaji’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s ‘Gufa’, ‘Pardon’ meant Rape

Sadhvis of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect were forced to seek 'mafi' (pardon) from its chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The 'mafi' turned out to be rape.

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
DSS chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. IANS

Chandigarh, September 8, 2017 : Female disciples or ‘sadhvis’ of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect were forced to seek ‘mafi’ (pardon) from its chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, at his whims and fancies. For those who did not know what ‘mafi’ meant, it turned to be rape by the man whom they considered their god.

These gory details have emerged in the judgment which recently convicted Ram Rahim for the rape of two female disciples in 1999.

The DSS chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who turned 50 last month, was sentenced by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court judge Jagdeep Singh to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment — 10 years for each count of rape.

Investigations by the CBI, as quoted in the judgment, describe a ‘gufa’ (cave) of the accused inside the sprawling 600-acre campus of the DSS sect near Sirsa town in Haryana.

One of the rape victims told the court and the CBI that she heard of the word ‘mafi’ from other sadhvis.

“The other sadhvis used to ask her (Victim A) as to whether ‘pitaji’ (father, as Ram Rahim is referred to by his followers) had granted ‘mafi’ to her or not, but at that time she did not understand the meaning of the word. When she used to ask from them as to what was the meaning of ‘mafi, they used to laugh at her,” the judgment, quoting the statement of one of the rape victims, said.

It was on the night of August 28, 1999, that the victim was taken by DSS ashram in-charge Sudesh to the ‘gufa’ of the self-styled godman. The victim gave details of what happened inside the gufa and how she was raped by the person whom she considered her god.

The victim said that Ram Rahim told her that she had become ‘apavitar’ (unholy) because of her past deeds and that he was going to purify her. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was watching a porn film when the victim entered his room, even had a pistol on the bed to intimidate her. After committing the rape, he warned her against relating the incident to anyone, failing which she and her family would be eliminated.

The same victim was again raped by the sect chief after a year.

Almost a similar modus operandi was adopted while committing rape on Victim-B in September 1999.

The CBI investigation revealed that out of the 133 sadhvis residing in two hostels of the DSS campuses, 24 had left during 1997-2002. The CBI, which was entrusted the inquiry into happenings at the DSS campus after an anonymous letter of rape and sexual exploitation of sadhvis by the sect chief emerged in 2002, could trace only 18 sadhvis who had faced exploitation during their stay.

“Both the prosecutrix, i.e. prosecutrix-A and prosecutrix-B, have stood like rocks and credibility of these witnesses/victims could not be impeached despite very lengthy cross-examination and they have consistently deposed that they were ravished by the accused while residing in the Dera campus,” the 167-page conviction judgment noted. (IANS)