A special court on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment to four men for gangraping a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Rajasthan’s Alwar last year. The fifth accused was convicted under the IT Act and was sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years. The verdict was pronounced by a special court for hearing cases under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Another accused, who is a minor, is being tried separately.
In April 2019, the woman had complained that she was gangraped by five men in Alwar, in front of her husband and later circulated the video on social media. The case had resulted in nationwide outrage and had also drawn sharp criticism for the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan for alleged police inaction.
“The court has sentenced four of the accused- Hansraj Gurjar, Chotelal Gurjar, Ashok Gurjar and Indraj Gurjar to life imprisonment till the end of their natural life while another accused, Mukesh, who played a part in circulating the video of the incident have been sentenced to five years of imprisonment after being convicted under the IT Act,” said Special Public Prosecutor Kuldip Jain on Tuesday.
According to the FIR, five bike-borne men on the Alwar-Thanagazi highway forcibly abducted the couple and dragged them behind sand dunes off the road on April 26. They gangraped the woman in front of her husband, filmed the act, and robbed the couple of Rs 2,000. According to the complainant’s brother-in-law, the accused started calling her husband on April 28, demanding Rs 10,000 and threatening that they would circulate the video if they were not paid.
The woman and her family had alleged that after they reported the matter to the police on April 30, officials deliberately didn’t take any action in the matter for seven days and didn’t arrest the accused, despite their pleas.. The gangrape and the alleged police inaction had caused nationwide outrage, with the Opposition BJP cornering the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state, accusing it of covering up the incident until the Lok Sabha elections had concluded in the area on May 6.
Three days after the matter was reported to the police, the FIR was finally lodged on May 2. And though her medical tests were completed on May 2 and 3, neither were their statements recorded nor the accused arrested. That’s when the video of the sexual assault surfaced on social media. The complainant’s brother-in-law said when they went to the police about the video, they were told there were few policemen available due to the elections and told them to go to Alwar.
#Breaking Court in Alwar sentences four accused in 2019 Thanagazi gangrape case to life imprisonment. Another accused convicted under the IT Act sentenced to imprisonment up to five years. The 19-year-old Dalit woman was gangraped in Thanagazi, Alwar in April 2019 @IndianExpress
— Deep Mukherjee (@manwithaquill) October 6, 2020
The first arrest in the case was made on May 7 after elections concluded in the Dausa Lok Sabha seat, of which Thanagazi is an Assembly segment.
After the allegations of police inaction, the government had suspended Thanagazi police station house officer Sardar Singh and also removed then Alwar SP Rajeev Pachar from his post.
The incident had brought into focus the increasing incidents of crimes in Alwar district and thereafter the state government divided it into two police districts- Alwar and Bhiwadi- having two separate SPs and police stations for each of them.
The victim was later provided a job in the police force by the Rajasthan government and was recruited as a police constable.
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