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Jail for Imrana's father-in-law

10 years for rape; 3 years for criminal intimidation

MUZAFFARNAGAR: A local court on Thursday convicted 70-year-old Ali Mohammed of raping his daughter-in-law Imrana and sentenced him to 10-year imprisonment. After the June 6, 2005 incident, a Muslim panchayat directed Imrana to treat her husband as a son, sparking a nationwide furore.

District and Sessions Judge R.D. Nimesh, in a courtroom packed with mediapersons, social activists and community members, pronounced Mohammed guilty of raping 29-year-old Imrana of Charthawal village in Uttar Pradesh.

The judge directed Mohammed to pay a compensation of Rs. 8,000 to his daughter-in-law. On a separate charge of criminal intimidation, he was sentenced to three-year imprisonment and fined Rs. 3,000.

Mohammed remained silent through out the proceedings, speaking only to say that he was incapable of committing such a crime. His counsel Subash Arora said an appeal would be filed in the Allahabad High Court.

Defies directive

A week after she was raped, a Muslim community panchayat asked Imrana, a mother of five children, to treat her husband Nur Ilahi as her son and declared their marriage haraam or illegal. Imrana defied the ruling and continued living with her husband.

Darul-uloom Deoband, a leading Islamic seminary, reportedly decreed that she could no longer live with her husband. But the seminary later denied it had issued any such fatwa.

Nur Ilahi said: "We neither sought advice nor counsel from Deoband. We have not raised the issue before clerics." But he also said he was worried about his father, who had been in judicial custody for over a year.

Imrana's advocate Sitaram Verma described the verdict as a "victory for women and society."

NCW effort

After Imrana's case was highlighted by the media and rights groups, the National Commission for Women directed the authorities in Muzaffarnagar to take action. NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to punish the guilty. The police registered a case under Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code against Mohammed after arresting him. They also filed a case against him on June 30, 2005 and recorded Imrana's statement. PTI

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