12-year-old Indian girl ‘raped and killed’ by brothers, uncle

Women shout slogans as they take part in a protest against rape and violence against women in New Delhi on March 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019

12-year-old Indian girl ‘raped and killed’ by brothers, uncle

  • India has a grim record of sexual assaults on minors with more than 36,000 cases reported in 2016
  • A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor

NEW DELHI: Two brothers have been arrested in India for allegedly raping their 12-year-old sister who was later beheaded with a sickle, police said Wednesday.
India has a grim record of sexual assaults on minors with more than 36,000 cases reported in 2016, according to latest available government data.
A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. Almost half the abusers are known to the victims.
In this case, the girl’s uncle, 40, has also been arrested and police are searching for the eldest brother after the body was found in the central state of Madhya Pradesh last week.
The accused had initially tried to put the blame on a rival family before police in Sagar district found discrepancies in their statement and realized the eldest brother had been missing.
“That was a big clue,” district police superintendent Amit Sanghi said by phone.
“All the men (three brothers and the uncle) were involved in raping the girl and when she threatened to tell the police, they strangled her to death and chopped off her head and dumped the body.”
Sanghi said the autopsy had confirmed the victim was gang-raped and subjected to “unnatural sex.”
“I have not seen such a crime in my life. Even lawyers have said they don’t want to represent the accused in this case.”
The high rates of assault continue despite an overhaul of laws in the wake of a high-profile fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in 2012 that sparked mass protests and a tightening of the law.
That crime shone a spotlight on the rising levels of violence against women in India, and saw the introduction of tough penalties for offenders and accelerated trials through court.


Indian court accused of ‘betrayal’ over mosque verdict

Updated 01 October 2020

Indian court accused of ‘betrayal’ over mosque verdict

  • Senior BJP officials acquitted of conspiracy to destroy historic Muslim place of worship

NEW DELHI: A special court in the northern Indian city of Lucknow on Wednesday acquitted all 32 politicians and senior leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring to demolish the 16th-century Babri Mosque in 1992, ruling that the move was not “preplanned.”

Muslims described the judgment as “yet another betrayal by the judiciary.”

The BJP under the leadership of then-party president Lal Krishna Advani led a political campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s to build a temple on the site of the disputed 16th-century mosque in the eastern city of Ayodhya, claiming that it was built by the first Mughal ruler Babar. 

On Dec. 6, 1992, in response to a call by BJP leaders, hundreds of Hindu extremists gathered at the disputed site and demolished the mosque, resulting in religious riots across the country that claimed more than 2,000 lives.

Most of the BJP leaders and its affiliates were blamed for razing the Babri Mosque.

However, on Wednesday, Surendra Kumar Yadav, the judge at the special court, said that the demolition of the 500-year-old mosque was not pre-planned.

“They have been acquitted for lack of evidence,” defense lawyer K.K. Mishra said after the verdict.

Muslims reacted to the verdict with disappointment.

“The judgment pronounced by the special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court is wrong. We will appeal in the high court,” Zafaryab Jilani, general secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said.

The BJP was elated with the court’s decision.

“It is a moment of happiness for all of us; we chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ (Hail Ram) after the court’s verdict. The judgment vindicates my personal and BJP’s belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. Along with millions of my countrymen, I now look forward to the completion of the beautiful Shri Ram Mandir (temple) at Ayodhya,” 92-year-old Advani, one of the accused in the case, said.

Another BJP leader and former party president, Murli Manohar Joshi, who was also among the accused, called the judgment “historic.”

“This proves that no conspiracy was hatched for the incident in Ayodhya. Our program and rallies were not part of any conspiracy,” Joshi, 86, said.

The verdict comes 10 months after the Supreme Court’s controversial judgment giving the disputed land to a Hindu trust and awarding five acres of land to Muslim petitioners to build a structure of their choice at another location in the city.

“It’s a betrayal by the court,” Ayodhya-based Hajji Mahboob, one of the original Muslim petitioners, told Arab News.

“So many BJP leaders have claimed openly that they were involved in demolishing the Babri Mosque. If the court gives this kind of one-sided verdict, I can only say that it is compromised,” he said.

“We know that there cannot be any justice for Muslims in this country because all the decisions given by the courts are wrong,” he added.

Reacting to the verdict, the main opposition Congress party said it was “counter to the Supreme Court judgment.” 

The apex court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque was clearly illegal and an “egregious violation of the rule of law.” 

“But the Special Court exonerated all the accused. It is clear that the decision of the Special Court runs counter to the decision of the Supreme Court,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

The demolition of the mosque was “a deep-rooted political conspiracy to destroy the country’s communal amity and brotherhood, and to usurp power at any cost,” he added.

According to Hilal Ahamd, of New Delhi-based think tank Center for the Study of Developing Societies, there is a growing belief among Muslims that India is a Hindu country and “they have to adjust themselves accordingly.”

Meanwhile, former chairman of the minority commission Zafar ul Islam Khan said the verdict will encourage the BJP to take the law into its own hands in the belief that the police and judiciary will protect them.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi political analyst who has written several books on the Hindu right-wing politics, said: “The demolition of the mosque was a criminal offense and the failure to establish guilt after 28 years is unfortunate.”

He described the verdict as “a betrayal for Muslims and risky for the security of the country if its largest minority keeps getting marginalized like this.”