Remember the Indian bus gang rape story that left the world aghast with shock? Yeah the one that took place last year with six men beating up on a girl who happened to be with her boyfriend, raping her and subsequently shoving a metal rod into her that left her with massive internal injuries that eventually led to her death?
Well the great hue and cry the case generated led the Indian government to sit up and take action…for what it was worth.
- Defendant, 17, given maximum sentence possible under Indian law
- Despite turning 18 will not be publicly named either
- Victim, 23, died after being gang raped by six men and used metal bar to cause massive internal injuries
- Crime shook India and lead to widespread protests about sex attack laws
- Victim’s mother says teenager should be hanged
By STEVE ROBSON
A teenager convicted for the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in Delhi has been jailed for just three years.
The defendant, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was given the maximum sentence possible under Indian law.
But despite having since turned 18, the attacker will not be publicly named.
The crime, which left the victim with such extensive internal injuries that she died two weeks later, sparked widespread protests across the country and led to reforms of India’s antiquated sexual violence laws.
‘He should be hanged irrespective of whether he is a juvenile or not. He should be punished for what he did to my daughter,’ said the mother of the victim, said soon after the verdict was announced.
‘You may as well set the juvenile free, if the sentence is only three years for heinous offences like rape and murder,’ she added tearfully.
The mother also said she would appeal against the verdict in a higher court.
‘I am not happy with this judgment. At least in this case, the juvenile should have been sentenced to life,’ the victim’s brother told Reuters news agency.
The government, facing immense public pressure, had promised swift justice in the case.
The convicted defendant was one of six people accused of tricking a 23-year-old medical student and her male companion into boarding an off-duty bus December 16 after they had seen an afternoon showing of ‘Life of Pi‘ at a shopping mall.
A dream destroyed: A man bows his head at a candlelit vigil for the 23-year-old student who died after being gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi
Police say the men raped the woman and used a metal bar to inflict massive internal injuries to her. They also beat her male companion. The victims were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died from her injuries in a Singapore hospital.
Four of the other defendants are being tried in a special fast-track court in New Delhi and face the death penalty. The sixth accused was found dead in his jail cell in March. The court is expected to hand down the rest of the verdicts next month.
The convicted defendant was tried as a minor on charges including murder and rape. The time he spent in a juvenile home since he was arrested in December will count as part of his three-year sentence.
Terror: The 23-year-old woman died after being gang raped by six men who also used a metal bar to cause massive internal injuries
The attack set off furious protests across India about the treatment of women in the country where police say a rape is reported every 20 minutes.
A government panel set to suggest reforms to sexual assault laws rejected calls to lower the age at which people can be tried as adults from 18 to 16.
On July 17, India’s top court also refused to reduce the age of a juvenile from 18 to 16 years. However, it later agreed to hear a new petition seeking to take the ‘mental and intellectual maturity’ of the defendant into account and not just age.
Four of the teenager’s co-accused are still on trial and face the death penalty if convicted. Closing arguments began on August 22 and verdicts are expected within the next fortnight. A fifth accused, the alleged ring-leader, killed himself in his jail cell in March.
‘IT SENDS A BAD SIGNAL’: CAMPAIGNERS CALL FOR CHANGE IN LAW AFTER TEENAGER WAS TRIED AS A JUVENILE
The teenager, who may not be named, was tried as a juvenile because he was 17 at the time of theattack.
The maximum penalty that could be imposed by India’s Juvenile Justice Board was three years.
In January, authorities ruled he was 17, citing school records, which shocked the victim’s family and others clamouring for him to face the death penalty.
In response to the public outcry after the rape, the government fast-tracked tougher laws against sex crimes, but it resisted calls to change the juvenile law and return the adult age to 16 from 18.
India’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by Subramanian Swamy, an opposition politician and lawyer, that calls for the law to be reinterpreted rather than changed.
Swamy wants the ’emotional, intellectual and mental maturity’ of juvenile offenders to be assessed when deciding whether to try them as a juvenile, rather than basing the decision on age alone.
‘I felt that, with the kind of rape that took place, if (the juvenile suspect) got off lightly it would send a bad signal to society,’ Swamy said.
He plans to launch an appeal against the verdict reached today if the Supreme Court rules in favour of his petition later this year.
The teenager pleaded not guilty to all 13 charges including rape, murder and robbery. His trial was held behind closed doors to protect his identity and media were barred from reporting on any details of the proceedings.
During his trial, he has been held at a juvenile detention facility for violent young offenders in Delhi and kept away from other inmates for his safety.
The youth left home when he was 11 and got work in a roadside eatery, his mother said in January.
In recent years he lived as a semi-vagrant, washing buses and collecting fares, according to a police report.
After leaving home, he never returned and his mother said she thought he was dead until police arrested him in connection with the gang rape.
Some 33,000 crimes were committed by juveniles in India last year, the highest number in a decade, but there has not been a large spike, according to Home Ministry figures. Juveniles commit a tiny proportion of total crimes in India and far less than other nations such as the United States.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk