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Gorakhpur activist who was petitioner in ‘hate speech’ case against Yogi Adityanath gets life term for gangrape

Parvez Parwaz  

A court in Gorakhpur has convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of gangrape a local activist who was a co-petitioner in the alleged hate speech case against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during the 2007 Gorakhpur communal violence when he was the MP from the constituency.

A district sessions court convicted activist Parvez Parvaz and Mahmood alias Jumman Baba, and sentenced them to life term, said Mr. Parvaz’s lawyer Miftahul Islam.

While convicting the two accused, the district judge in his order said that they took the "poor and hapless woman" to an isolated place in the name of jhaad-phoonk during Ramzan and took turns to rape her.

The court also fined the two accused ₹25,000 each which would be provided to the victim for her rehabilitation.  

Mr. Parvaz's colleague Asad Hayat said they would challenge the conviction in the Allahabad High Court, saying there had been a "violation of the principle of natural justice" as several facts and evidences in the case presented by the accused were overlooked.

Mr. Parvaz was arrested in September 2018 after a local woman in her 30s accused him and Jumman Baba of gangraping her after luring her to an isolated place near Pandeyhatta area late on June 3 under the pretext of helping her resolve her family problems.

According to the FIR lodged at the Rajghat police station on June 4, 2018, the woman claimed she came in contact with Mahmood, who is a ‘baba’ (ascetic), at a local shrine, when she was looking for help to get her estranged husband under “control” through “jhaad-phoonkh”, a form of exorcism.

‘Falsely implicated’

After his arrest, Mr. Parvaz’s colleagues had alleged that he was being “falsely implicated under political pressure” as the FIR in the rape case had been expunged earlier. The police, however, said that the arrest was made after they found fresh evidence in the case.

The Gorakhpur case dates back to January 2007 when communal clashes broke out in Gorakhpur and adjoining districts after a Hindu youth was killed in a clash during a Muharram procession.

As per an FIR registered, Mr. Adityanath allegedly delivered a provocative speech calling out for “revenge against the minority community” in retaliation for the death of the youth. The police initially refused to register an FIR and lodged it only after the High Court intervened.

After the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, the State government refused sanction to allow Mr. Adityanath to be prosecuted for inciting communal violence on grounds that a CD, which was shown as prime evidence of the “hate speech,” had allegedly been tampered with. In February 2018, the High Court upheld the State’s decision and dismissed the writ petition seeking a probe in the case by an independent agency, following which the petitioners approached the Supreme Court.

The petitioners’ appeal is pending before the Supreme Court, said advocate Asad Hayat, Mr. Parvaz's co-petitioner in the case.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:47:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gorakhpur-activist-who-was-petitioner-in-hate-speech-case-against-yogi-gets-life-term-for-gangrape/article32218959.ece

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