Held guilty of raping a 22-year-old woman in 2017, three convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment for the remainder of natural life by Additional District and Sessions Judge of special women and children court Chandigarh, on Friday.
The convicts, Mohammad Irfan (28), Mohammad Garib (21) and Kismat Ali (21), were convicted under sections 376D (gang rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. Additional District Judge Poonam R Joshi also imposed a fine of Rs 2.05 lakh each on the convicts, out of which Rs 2 lakh each would be given to the victim.
On Friday, Irfan, Garib and Ali were brought to court amid tight security by nearly 30 policemen, including 10 commandos of UT Police, as the family members of the three convicts gathered outside the court.
Before the sentence, the convicts sought leniency from the court. Mohammad Garib said he was 21 years old and married and the sole breadwinner of his family, including two sisters and two brothers. A labourer, Kismat Ali said he was 21, and had a sister who was physically challenged, a brother and aged parents and he had not done anything as he was called by Irfan only to eat and drink. The prime convict, Mohammad Irfan, said he was 28 and married with two sons and two daughters. He also stated that his family and parents were entirely dependent on him.
The public prosecutor, however, argued that the convicts deserved no leniency.
The victim has stated that three men raped her at Sector 53 on the night of November 18, 2017. After attending class, the woman took an autorickshaw and auto driver Irfan drove her to an isolated place in Sector 53, instead of taking her to Mohali to her paying guest accommodation. The other two, Garib and Ali, were already sitting in the auto. So, the trio raped the woman by turn.
‘…Bravery of girl in not informing her parents…’
While the counsel for the accused had raised a question during the trial as to why the victim did not inform her family about the matter, the court observed “…she is bothered about her family that they will get perturbed on hearing her tale of woe. As such, the girl’s bravery in not informing her parents and disturbing them does not in any way give any benefit to the accused rather her act is laudable…”
Convicts’ kin in tears
Since afternoon, Irfan’s wife was outside the court with three of her four children. She said, “I have four children from Irfan and one boy was born just a few days before Irfan was arrested. I am a labourer and now with Irfan in jail, how will I manage my life.”
Ali’s sister, who suffers from a disease in the legs which forces her to crawl, also broke down outside the court. “I have been living with Kismat’s help and now my life is spoiled as he will be away in jail for life.”
Happy and satisfied: Victim
“I am happy and satisfied that the people who did this to me will now pay for what they did, suffer for the rest of their lives. I had full faith in the system. For the past few days, the incident was playing on a loop in my mind’s eye. I have immersed myself in my 9 to 6 job and I’m going with the flow, but now that I’ve got justice, I will sleep peacefully; at least for tonight,” said the victim.