LESS THAN two months after a seven-year-old girl was gangraped in Mandsaur town, a sessions court on Tuesday awarded death sentence to two men arrested in the case — Irfan alias Bhaiyyu Mevati (20) and Asif Zulfikar Mewati (24).
“It’s a rarest of rare case because the accused committed an abhorrent crime by not just raping a minor but also injuring her private parts with a knife and leaving her for dead. They don’t deserve any leniency,’’ observed Additional District and Sessions Judge Nisha Gupta as she awarded capital punishment under the newly introduced IPC Section 376 DB (punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years of age by one or more persons).
This is the 14th death sentence awarded by various courts across the state since February 28.
The Class III student was abducted from near her school gate on June 26, while she was waiting for her grandmother. She was found the next day and taken to hospital, where doctors confirmed that she had been brutalised. The incident triggered protests in several towns across the state.
CCTV footage led the police to Irfan, who was arrested on June 27. Following his interrogation, Asif was arrested the next day.
Both are residents of Madarpura area in Mandsaur.
#WATCH: BJP leader Vinay Dubela slaps one of the two Mandsaur rape accused while they were being produced before the court. The two accused have been awarded death sentence in the rape case. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/8fjqKikkkt
— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2018
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had openly advocated death penalty for the accused, said, “I thank the judiciary. There is a positive change in society because criminals with perverted mentality are being awarded death penalty and there is quick justice… Atma ko thandak mili, mann ko shanti mili (It has given us solace, peace of mind), justice has been done. Such punishment is a lesson for rapists.”
When the convicts were being led away after the judgment on Tuesday, a Hindu Mahasabha activist slapped one of them in the presence of police.
The 350-page chargesheet was filed on July 12 and deposition of witnesses began on July 30. Additional District Prosecution Officer Nitesh Krishnan said though the prosecution had submitted a list of 47 witnesses, only 37 were examined because “the purpose was served”.
Krishnan told The Indian Express that the victim had identified both the men. Her blood was found on Irfan’s clothes, and the hair of both the men was recovered from the spot where they raped her. Besides CCTV footage, some witnesses also identified the men.
Advocates Raju Singh Pawar and Deendayal Bhavsar, who represented Irfan and Asif respectively, said they would challenge the court’s decision in the high court.
“Asif was not present at the spot. His only fault was that he accompanied Irfan to sell a mobile phone and they were seen together,’’ Bhavsar argued in court. He claimed the victim had said that one person had assaulted her, and she had not identified Asif during the test identification parade.
Pawar told the court that the victim’s family had sold property worth Rs 1.5 crore, and the incident was a fallout of a dispute over money. He said the victim had spoken about five persons who took her to the desolate spot, and asked why the police did not produce the other persons.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the victim’s uncle said: “The judgment is good. The criminals won’t target anyone again. They should be hanged tomorrow.’’ He said the victim’s condition was improving. She underwent another operation eight days ago, he said.