After Nirbhaya: the rape cases that shook the nation

(From left) Mohammed Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and Kasim Bengali, who have been sentenced to death by a Sessions court in the Shakti Mills photojournalist gang-rape case. — file photo: PTI  

The Supreme Court last week upheld the four death sentences for the brutal gang-rape and murder of 23-year-old ‘Nirbhaya’ in December 2012, but the impact of that crime goes far beyond the court case. It made the issue of women’s safety in India a matter of public concern. A ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ was set up in 2013 by the UPA government, followed by changes to the Juvenile Justice Act and setting up of fast-track Mahila Courts.

While this case has been in the spotlight, here are some other cases of rape over the last few years that have caused widespread concern:

1. Shakti Mills gang-rape, July-August, 2013

The incident that took place in an abandoned mill in Central Mumbai sparked widespread outrage. A 22-year-old photojournalist and her male colleague were attacked and she was raped by five men, including a minor, on August 22. The accused threatened that her photos would be posted online if she complained. An 18-year-old alleged being raped in the same premises on July 13. Three of five men who were convicted – Vijay Jadhav, Qasim Sheikh and Salim Ansari – were held guilty of both crimes and sentenced to death. Two other accused were minors who were tried and sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention facility by the Juvenile Justice Court in Mumbai.

2. ‘Gang-rape’ in Badaun, May, 2014

Two cousins, aged 14 and 15 and belonging to a Dalit family, went missing from their homes and were found hanging from a mango tree the next day in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. The family alleged gang-rape and murder and an initial post-mortem report confirmed that they raped before being killed. Five men, including two police constables were held on charges of rape, murder and criminal conspiracy. The controversial role of the local police saw the case being transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation in June, 2014. In an unexpected turn of events, the CBI enquiry claimed that the girls were neither raped nor murdered, but had committed suicide. The reason cited was that the older of the victims had been caught in a compromising position with one of the accused, 19-year-old Pappu Yadav. The charges against the accused were dropped. An appeal is pending before the Additional District Judge in Badaun district.

3. Rape of six-year-old at Vibgyor High, July, 2014

Protests flared in Bangalore after a six-year-old was allegedly raped by school staff at an international school, Vibgyor High. The incident drew all-round condemnation and a bandh was organised by Kannada organisations to highlight women’s safety issues in the city. Two gymnastics instructors, Lal Giri and Wasim Pasha, were arrested in the case. A final chargesheet incriminated the school’s chairman, Rustom Kerawala, in addition to the two accused. They are being prosecuted under the POCSO Act. The case is important because it saw changes being made to the State Goondas Act that enabled bringing sex offenders under its ambit.

4. Uber rape case, December, 2014

A 27-year-old woman returning home in an Uber cab in Delhi was raped by her driver after she dozed off in the backseat, and woke up to find him molesting her. Threatening to kill her, the driver then thrashed and raped her inside the locked car. The woman filed a complaint and medical tests confirmed she was raped. The accused, Yadav, was caught from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Further investigation revealed that the accused had obtained a fake character certificate for his job at Uber. A long-drawn trial ensued that saw the intervention of the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court before Yadav was convicted on October 20, 2015. The case is particularly important because criminal action was likely against Uber and it was also banned briefly in Delhi.

5. Sivagangai minor girl rape case, July, 2015

The rape survivor’s aunt, Selvi, filed a case with local police alleging that the girl was being forced into prostitution by her father and brother, Muthupandi and Karthik. The case was transferred to the Crime Branch of CID in Sivagangai. The case took a turn when the aunt was arrested after the girl claimed it was Selvi who forced her into prostitution, and that she was also forced to name her father and brother. A final chargesheet was filed in February, 2016 before the Fast-track Mahila Court, arraigning 12 persons. This includes Selvi; Dr. Manivannan and Dr. Karnan, two medical practitioners who allegedly performed abortions on the victim; and four juveniles, including Selvi’s son.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 1:28:04 AM |

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