Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says that convicts of Shakti Mills rape case deserved death penalty.
In a landmark judgement the sessions court awarded death penalty to three convicts for gang-raping a photojournalist at the Shakti Mills Compound. It’s the first instance when section 376 (e) has been applied on persons convicted for heinous crimes like gang-rape. The miscreants Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari convicted under a new legal provision that punishes repeat offenders with life term or death sentence. The laws were amended after the brutal gang rape of young student in Delhi in December, 2012.
Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, “Miscreants had initially raped a telephone operator and later they raped a photojournalist. The death penalty awarded to them is justified. After raping the girl rapists had also laughed at her. One of the miscreant said we are devil minded people and nobody dared to catch us. The criminals had called their accomplices to the spot.”
The court also awarded a life term for the fourth convict in the case. “The three repeat offenders have also been given life sentence for unnatural sex,” added Nikam. Welcoming the court’s decision, Nikam said that rape is another form of murder.
“Any leniency in this case would be a travesty of justice. Life term will not be justice, it will be inadequate,” said a Sessions court in Mumbai.
The section 376(e) (repeat offence of rape), which was introduced after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, attracts the maximum penalty of death. This is the first time in the country the section has been applied.
Section 376(e) doesn’t constitute any independent or separate offence but provides for enhancement of the sentence for those who are previously convicted, the court said.
The group’s crimes were exposed after the 23-year-old photojournalist’s rape in August last, which sparked a fresh wave of outrage across the country, months after the Delhi gang-rape.
The photographer was on assignment at the mill with a male colleague when five men tied him up and took turns to assault her, holding a broken bottle to her head. The attackers were found guilty of offences that included showing pornography to her and forcing her to perform similar acts, stripping her, and destroying evidence.
The phone operator came forward after reading about the photographer’s ordeal.
The police describe the attackers as unemployed school dropouts and neighbours say they were a gang known for petty theft and drinking in the area.