An Assam court Friday awarded death penalty to Zakir Hussain, the prime accused in the gangrape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Assam’s Nagaon district in March. District and Session Judge Rita Kar sentenced Hussain (19) to death under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the murder, and to life imprisonment for raping the minor girl. On March 23, as reported by The Indian Express, a minor girl was gagged, gangraped, doused in kerosene and set on fire, by her 12-year-old classmate, her 11-year-old cousin and 19-year-old neighbour, Zakir Husain.
“While Husain has been sentenced to death, the two juveniles were tried by the Juvenile Justice Board. They have now been put in a correctional home for three years,” said Shankar Raimedhi, Nagaon SP, adding that the special investigation team formed for this particular case worked in tandem with the prosecution. “That is why we have been able to bring justice in just 5 months. It is a record for the Assam Police. The brutality of the case ensured that it was put on fast track court.”
The rape of the class 5 student created a huge uproar in Assam. After raping her turn by turn, and then setting her body on fire the youths had fled from the backdoor. She was rushed to Guwahati Medical College Hospital, where she succumbed to injuries later that night.
Meanwhile speaking over the phone to the indianexpress.com from right outside the court, the father of the victim said, “For 5 months and 16 days we heard nothing. Today we are happy. But I do hope Husain is actually hanged.” The mother of the victim has been unwell ever since the incident. “She is still in a bad shape,” he added.
At the time of filing the chargesheet in April, apart from the three, five more people were named. The five names included Husain’s parents, his brother, his brother-in-law and the person who was driving the car in which Husain fled from the scene of crime to another village. Husain’s family is infamous in the village for a number of petty crimes over the years. “The other 5 were charged with criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. However, they have been acquitted,” said SP Raimedhi.
The family is yet to receive monetary compensation but reportedly the District Services Legal Authority is going to help them under the Victim Compensation Scheme. “All these days we didn’t get any help whatsoever. We are very poor daily wage laborers. After this judgment, we are hopeful we will get some help,” said the victim’s father.