Issewal gang rape: five sentenced to life until death : The Tribune India

Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5

A young girl and boy setting off in a car could never imagine that the twilight of that cold February evening would engulf their lives in chilling darkness, the traumatic scars of which will haunt them for life, a Ludhiana court observed as he sentenced to life imprisonment until natural death to the five convicted in the 2019 Issewal gang rape case.

Those sentenced to life imprisonment by the Court of Extra Sessions Judge Rashmi Sharma were Sadiq Ali of Mukandpur, Nawanshahr; Jagroop Singh, alias Rupi, from the village of Jaspal Bangar; Surmu from Khanpur village, Dehlon; Saif Ali from Dehlon; and Ajay, alias Lalan, from the village of Jassad Paddi. They were ordered to pay Rs 1 lakh each.

A miner was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and fined Rs 50,000. The court clarified that the fine amount of Rs 5.5 lakh would be paid to the 21-year-old victim as compensation.

Referring to the 2012 Nirbhaya case, which shook the nation, the court in its 112-page judgment observed that incidents of sexual assault were still on the rise. “Their only hope is to see the face of justice lit by the imposition of an adequate sentence without allowing the mockery and travesty of justice,” observed the court, while declining the exception of leniency raised by the condemned.

“Needless to say, convicting the accused for such offences, primarily gang rape, is not the end of the legal battle for the victim. She still has to fight many battles on the social front of disgrace, misery, anguish and ostracism to overcome the psychological wounds, the agony, the nightmare of fear psychosis to regain confidence and faith in the goodness of mankind,” the court observed.

“While the mindset of society still has a long way to go, the message needs to be loud and clear, there is no shame in being survivors of sexual violence. The shame, in fact, must rest with the perpetrator, not the victim,” the court noted.

Special Prosecutor BD Gutpa said the prosecution examined 44 witnesses out of a total of 54 to prove the defendant’s guilt. The victim and his friend filed in court.

On April 4, 2019, police filed a 700-page indictment based on a forensic investigation supported by 54 witness statements against the accused.

The woman was gang-raped on February 8 near the village of Issewal, along the Sidwan Canal, after the car she was traveling in with a friend was stopped and she was dragged outside. Later, they demanded a ransom from one of the eyewitness friends accompanying the victim.

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