The accident that killed them has left the girl maimed.
She is young. Ingenuous. Resilient. She chose for herself a working life, hoping to tangibly contribute to the nation’s GDP, bring prosperity to her family. She was a daughter of the soil. Instead of enabling her, the powerful decided to exploit and condemn her for her good intentions and competences. Met with resistance, they took revenge on her family. Within a year, her father was dead. Deaths of two of her aunts followed. The accident that killed them has left the girl maimed. We do not know the full extent of her injuries.
Yet, unlike their counterparts in the heartlands as well as the metropoles, her family has stood by the sufferer. Though, as some would say, they paid the price for that. It marks a departure from custom, nevertheless. Of stigmatising, ostracising, cancelling the rape victim. Just like it happened in ‘Nirbhaya’s case.
It is, therefore, fitting that the district court in Tis Hazari, Delhi, where the erstwhile Chief Justice of India had transferred all of the cases pertaining to this series of crimes (the incumbent, CJI Bobde, has now formed a panel of two Supreme Court judges to speed up hearing gendered and sexual violence cases), has now convicted Kuldeep Singh Sengar, belatedly expelled BJP MLA from Unnao, of rape under both Section 376, IPC, and sections 5(c) and 6 of the Pocso Act on December 16, the date of ‘Nirbhaya’s gang-rape. His co-accused, Shashi Singh, was acquitted for lack of evidence. Once smirking and full of taunts, Sengar broke down in the courtroom upon hearing the verdict. His sentence is likely to be pronounced on Friday.
It is as well that Sengar will not be served the regressive death penalty as the relevant Pocso Act amendment is not retrospective. But why has the CBI booked him only for conspiracy and not murder? Additional district judge Dharmesh Sharma has duly slammed the agency for slow, biased and shoddy investigation. In these gloomy times, his judgment is a ray of hope.