The special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) court in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha on Thursday found a factory worker from Bihar guilty of having raped a 14-month old girl in September. The court sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The rape case had sparked revenge attacks on migrants from north India, prompting a mass exodus from the state. Special judge K B Gujarathi found the 19-year-old guilty on the basis of medical and forensic evidence as well as witness accounts. “Considering his (the convict’s) age, he was given a minimum punishment of 20 years under the POCSO act,” said Special Public Prosecutor R N Pandya.
The toddler was abducted on September 28 from her grandfather’s tea stall opposite a ceramic tiles factory and was raped. Outraged mobs attacked “non-Gujaratis”, who fled the state en masse.
The local police had filed the chargesheet on November 3, and the court framed charges against the accused on November 28. The trial was concluded on February 21.
The prosecution had argued that there was enough evidence against the accused, including medical evidence that proved that he had raped the child.
The court appointed lawyer Y N Raval as his legal aide. Raval argued the prosecution’s case was not believable as his client had erectile dynfunction. “(The accused) has erectile issues which came on record during the trial,” said Raval. “I have argued that he has been framed for some ulterior motive.”