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It’s like Nirbhaya case, says Judge sentencing man to death in Jisha murder case

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017,19:09 IST By anju A A A

Kochi | Drawing a parallel with the 2012 Nirbhaya case, a court here today sentenced to death a 22- year-old labourer from Assam for the rape and murder of a 30- year old Dalit law student in Kerala last year.

Ernakulam principal sessions court judge N Anil Kumar held that the brutal acts of the convict, Muhammed Ameerul Islam, definitely fit this case within the umbrella of “rarest of rare cases on par with the Nirbhaya case in Delhi”.

The incident had rocked the state in the midst of the campaign for the assembly elections last year with opposition parties attacking the then Congress-led UDF government for alleged “tardy” probe and “failure” to nab the culprit swiftly.

“When collective conscience of the community is so shocked, it is the duty of the court to inflict death penalty,” the court said in its order referring to the Nirbhaya incident, in which a paramedic student was gangraped on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in the national capital.

Four convicts were sentenced to death in that case.
The judge had on December 12 convicted Islam for the rape and murder of the woman at her home in Perumbavoor on April 28, 2016 and heard the defence and prosecution yesterday on the quantum of punishment.

Islam was found guilty of Indian Penal Code offences including murder, rape, house trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death and wrongful confinement.

Pronouncing the sentence today, the court, which referred to the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Nirbhaya case on various aspects, awarded death to Islam for murder under Section 302 of IPC.

It also sentenced him to life imprisonment under IPC 376 A (causing death or causes the woman to be in persistent vegetative state while committing rape).

It sentenced the convict to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years, one year and seven years under IPC 376 (rape), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 449 (house trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) respectively.

The capital punishment would be subject to confirmation by the high court and all other sentences would run concurrently, the judge said

The court also imposed fines of varying amounts on different counts.

“The brutal acts of the convict definitely fit this case within the umbrella of rarest of rare cases on a par with the Nirbhaya’s case in Delhi. Judged by the above standards, when collective conscience of the community is so shocked, it is the duty of the court to inflict death penalty…,” the Judge said in his 410-page order.

In the Nirbhaya case, five men and a juvenile had assaulted the 23-year-old paramedic student and a male friend in a moving bus as it drove through the streets of New Delhi.

She was thrown out of the bus -so grievously injured that her insides were spilling out – along with her male friend near the airport. After battling for life for a fortnight, she succumbed in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. The victim was given the name Nirbhaya or ‘the fearless’. The incident sparked massive protests and led to changes in anti- rape laws.

Terming it an attack “most brutal, barbaric and diabolical”, the Supreme Court had in May upheld the death sentence for the four men.

A fifth accused allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March in 2013 and the sixth, a convicted juvenile, was sentenced three years of punishment in a reform home and released in 2015.

“Let this verdict be yet another revelation for mass movement to end violence against women and to gain respect for women and her dignity in the years to come,” the court today said.

Hailing the verdict, the victim’s mother said she was grateful to the judiciary for awarding death penalty to Islam who had killed her daughter in a brutal manner.

She also thanked the police, prosecution and those who stood behind her in ensuring justice for her daughter.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the death sentence was a recognition of the LDF government’s “uncompromising” stand towards the safety of women.

Additional Director General of Police B Sandhya, who headed the special investigation team, said the police had carried out the probe in a professional manner.

Special Public Prosecutor N K Unnikrishnan said the prosecution could ensure justice in the case which had shaken the collective conscience of the society.

Maintaining that Islam was not guilty, defence lawyer B A Aloor said an appeal would be filed in the high court against his conviction.

The court had yesterday rejected an application filed by the defence counsel seeking further ‘fair’ probe contending that Islam, who only understands his mother tongue Assamese, was not given a fair treatment by the police.

The prosecution has argued that the diabolic and barbaric manner in which the crime was committed on the unarmed woman was almost like that committed on Nirbhaya, victim of the gangrape and fatal assault in New Delhi in 2012.

The Special Investigation Team probing the case had used DNA technology and verification of call record details to prove Islam’s involvement in the crime.

As many as 100 witnesses were examined during the trial, which commenced in April last.

The woman, who hailed from a poor family, was raped and brutally assaulted using sharp-edged weapons at her house. The accused was held from Tamil Nadu, 50 days after the incident.

More than 100 police personnel questioned over 1,500 people in the case. Fingerprints of over 5,000 people were examined and police went over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before cracking the case.