Court convicts them; to hear arguments on quantum of sentence tomorrow

A district court on Tuesday convicted a railway employee and another person on finding them guilty of sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl from Odisha in a railway coach at the Mangalore Central Railway Station on July 14, 2010. Another railway employee accused in the case is at large.

The Fourth Additional District and Sessions Judge B.K. Naik convicted K. Ashok, an employee of a railway contractor, and Nishit A., a mechanical helper in Southern Railway. The judge has acquitted another accused, Abdul Sattar Ayub, a vendor at the railway station, for lack of evidence.

The girl escaped from a house in Kadri where she was working and came to the railway station on that day. The girl was found in a semi-conscious state in a coach by a woman sweeper who then shifted her to the women’s waiting room at the railway station. Later, Child Helpline staff counselled the girl who narrated the incident to them. The Government Railway Police arrested three persons. The main accused, Shameesh, a porter and sweeper from Payyanur in Kerala, has been absconding since the incident.

Reading out the judgment in a packed court hall, Mr. Naik said that there was clear evidence to show that the girl was sexually assaulted. Apart from the statement of the victim on the day of the incident, there was evidence from the doctor who examined her, and also forensic evidence about sexual assault. The girl was raped by Shameesh and K. Ashok, the judge noted.

Though there was no evidence in the case of Nishit, the judge said that he was equally responsible for the acts of the other two accused as he was at the place of assault.

Turning down the contention of the accused on delay in filing the complaint, Mr. Naik said, “The delay in registering the case in this instance is acceptable.”

Any sexual assault on a minor, the judge said, amounted to rape. The judge said that the girl had been gang raped and therefore, Ashok and Nishit were being convicted. While acquitting Abdul Sattar Ayub, the judge told Ayub’s counsel: “Caution him.”

The judge will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on Thursday.