On Wednesday, a sessions court in Ahmedabad sentenced three men to death for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl last year, a case that headed to statewide protests and anger from the Maratha community. The Additional Special Judge Suvarna Kevale announced the death sentence to Jitendra Babulal Shinde, Santosh Gorakh Bhawal, and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume as they were held guilty on multiple counts including rape, murder, and criminal conspiracy.
The sentence will be implemented only after the top court confirms it. The mother of the victim, who broke down following the sentencing, said that “Today my little daughter got justice in true sense”. The security was tightened around the court when the judge announced the quantum of sentence, calling the sensitivities of the communities of the victim and the convicts, and the violence that the caste divide triggered last week. As per the 350-page chargesheet in the case, the victim was coming back home in the evening from her grandfather’s house when the trio grabbed her at an isolated place and attacked her.
Due to the heavy protest, the government had to appoint Ujjwal Nikam as the special public prosecutor and fast-track the case. The father of victim after the court verdict said that “We thank public prosecutor, chief minister and the entire Maratha community for their efforts in bringing the accused to books”.