The district sessions court of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has convicted activist Parwez Parvaz, 65, in a 2018 gangrape case and sentenced him to life imprisonment along with another co-accused.
In 2007, Parvaz had moved the Allahabad High Court seeking registration of an FIR against Yogi Adityanath, who was then an MP from Gorakhpur, alleging that he gave a hate speech. In 2018, after the High Court allowed the UP government to not prosecute Adityanath — now the chief minister of UP — Parvaz filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the order.
Parvaz was arrested in September 2018 after a 40-year-old woman accused him and Mehmood alias Jumman Baba (66) of gangrape on June 3, 2018.
In her police complaint, the woman had alleged that she had gone to the house of Jumman Baba on June 3, 2018 for “seeking remedies” for her marital problems, when he took her to an isolated place and raped her at gunpoint along with “someone who Jumman called Parvez bhai”.
“District and Sessions Judge Govind Vallabh Sharma on Tuesday sentenced the two accused – Parwez Parvaz and Mehmood alias Jumman – to life imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each on both and ordered that Rs 40,000 from the fine be given to the gangrape victim,” government counsel Yashpal Singh said.
Parvaz’s lawyer Miftahul Islam, meanwhile, said that they will be challenging the conviction in a higher court.
Islam alleged that the court did not allow the defence to submit written arguments on Tuesday. “Without concluding the arguments, the judgment was pronounced. There were no arguments and we were not allowed to submit our written arguments as well,” Islam said.
But the government counsel said that lawyers were given enough time to submit their arguments. “They (the defence counsels) were stalling the court proceedings in order to delay it. They had ample time to argue. The court proceedings were held as per the law,” Yashpal Singh said.
In May 2017, after the BJP came to power in UP and Adityanath became the CM, the state government refused to give sanction to prosecute Adityanath and four other BJP leaders in the 2007 hate speech case.
The state had refused to grant sanction, saying the “video evidence (CD)” sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in 2014 was “tampered” with.
In February 2018, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by Parvaz and his colleague Asad Hayat, challenging the UP government’s refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Adityanath in the hate speech case.
“The Special Leave Petition against the High Court judgment is pending in the Supreme Court,” S Farman Naqvi, the counsel for Parvaz and Hayat told The Indian Express.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines