Court awards 20-year jail to two for gang rape of Muslim woman during Muzaffarnagar riots

‘Though the judgment has come after a wait of 10 years, I am happy that justice has prevailed,’ says the rape survivor

May 09, 2023 09:15 pm | Updated 09:21 pm IST - New Delhi

People during candle march at Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. File

People during candle march at Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. File | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

A trial court in Muzaffarnagar on May 9 convicted two men, Maheshvir and Sikander, for the gang rape of a Muslim woman during the communal riots that shook the western Uttar Pradesh town in September 2013. In the first conviction for gang rape during the riots, that left over 60 people dead and hundreds homeless, the accused have been awarded 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and ₹10,000 fine under Section 367D of the Indian Penal Code.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Anjani Kumar Singh, also convicted the two accused for 10 years of imprisonment under Section 376 (2)(g) of the IPC and a fine of ₹5,000 and two years of imprisonment under Section 506 of the IPC. The third accused Kuldeep died during the court proceedings.

The court pronounced the judgment almost after 9 years and 7 months of the incident in which the judge maintained that the accused gang-raped the helpless woman when she was trying to save herself and her ailing son’s life during riots by hiding in sugarcane fields.

The woman, who was one among the seven who had alleged that they were raped during the Muzaffarnagar riots, could not hold her tears when she held the copy of the order in her hands.

“Though the judgment has come after a wait of 10 years, I am happy that justice has prevailed and I hope that my case serves as an example and a source of strength to other women victims who were till now afraid to seek justice,” the rape survivor said.

The matter pertains to September 8, 2013 when the woman, who was living in Muzaffarnagar district which was affected by communal riots, was fleeing from her home along with her three-year-old son. As she hid in sugarcane fields, the accused, Kuldeep, Sikander and Maheshvir, raped her by taking her child at knifepoint. The accused also threatened the woman to kill her and her husband if she reported the matter.

This was not the lone case of rape/gang-rape during the Muzaffarnagar violence. Earlier, seven women had complained of the same crime during the 2013 riots but six of them later withdrawn their cases citing different reasons.

As the woman was displaced after the riots, she had to take shelter at the Malakhpur rehabilitation camp.

“Initially I was afraid to lodge a criminal complaint as I had been threatened by the convicts that I will be killed if I tell anyone about the gang rape. However, at the camp I heard that there were other women who were coming forward with their complaints who have also been sexually assaulted and raped during the communal riots. This gave me strength to come forward and get my complaint typed and posted to the police,” she added.

SC’s intervention

However, to her great disappointment, no criminal proceedings were initiated on the basis of her complaint. It was only after she approached the Supreme Court along with other victims that the court intervened and the First Information Report (FIR) in her case was registered. 

In May 2014, a case of gang rape was filed in the Supreme Court against the accused on a plea filed by the woman through Senior Advocate Vrinda Grover and advocate Kamini Jaiswal. The lawyers took the matter to the apex court again seeking a fast-track hearing of the case, later which the Muzaffarnagar court started hearing her case on a day-to-day basis and finally convicted the two.

“This is one of the first cases of conviction under 376(2)(g) IPC [added by way of the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment] which recognises rape during communal violence as a specific offence,” said Ms. Grover.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.