Sexual Abuse of Hindu Student – ‘MINORITY’ boys convicted

published on February 25, 2009



Three convicted in SME ragging case

PNS | Kottayam

Special
Court judge K Sasidharan Nair of Kottayam on Wednesday pronounced
guilty first three of the total nine accused in the case relating to
the sexual abuse of a junior Nursing girl student at the School of
Medical Education (SME) at Arupukkara. The punishment for the convicted
trio would be announced on Thursday.

The court concluded that
final-year nursing students Ranjith Varghese of Kollam, Sherin of
Muvattupuzha and Shefeeq Yusuf from Athirampuzha. First, second and
third accused respectively, had abused the girl sexually in the name of
ragging. The crime was committed on October 21, 2005. The judge
observed that the crime of the convicts included gang rape. The other
six accused were acquitted for want of convincing evidence.

Legal
experts said that the court had found the accused guilty under Sections
376 and 342 and the Act against ragging in colleges. They said the trio
could be punished up to ten years in prison. They pointed out that
ragging itself was seen by Judiciary as a horrible crime and the
offence here included rape as well. The trial in the case had started
on October 21, 2008, exactly three years since the day the crime was
committed.

The nine persons accused in the case had included
students, college authorities and even a doctor outside the college.
The other accused in the case were nursing students Ashley Varghese,
Robin Paul and Dibin Philip Perumal, KM Mariyam, then principal of the
SME Nursing College, Dr Muraleedharan Nair, former director, SME and Dr
Saibunnisa Beevi, head of the department of psychiatry, Medical College
Hospital, Kottayam.

Prime accused Renjith Varghese and the other
accused students, Sherin, Shafeeq Yusuf, Ashley Varghese, Robin Paul
and Dibin Philip were charged for illegal confinement, molestation,
procuring a girl for rape, administration of psychotropic substance,
gang-rape and criminal intimidation. They have also been charged under
Section 4 of the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act.

Twenty-seven
witnesses were examined by the Prosecution in the case while thriy
exhibits were produced in the court. There were 32 documents and the
defendants examined seven witnesses. There were a total of 115
witnesses.

According to the prosecution, a few male students
of the School of Medical Education had sexually tortured and gang-raped
a first-year girl student in the name of ragging in an isolated
laboratory at the institution on October 21, 2005. The authorities
concerned had allegedly tried to keep the incident as a secret, the
Prosecution charged.

The case was probed by a team headed by
Vinod Kumar, who was now DYSP, internal security, State Special Branch,
Thrissur. Though the chargesheet in the case was filed on January 17,
2006, the trial of the case could be started only on October 21, 2008
due to various reasons. The Special Court was scheduled to pronounce
the verdict on Tuesday but it was deferred to Wednesday as the
preparation of the judgement was not complete.

Special
Prosecutor G Mohanraj appeared for the Prosecution while MK Damodaran,
Pius Kottam, Ajithkumar, PK Chithrbhanu, Sureshbabu Thomas, Thomas
Mathew, CS Ajayan, Balagovindan and Anandapadmanabhan represented the
defendants as counsles.

After the pronouncement of the verdict,
Public Prosecutor Mohanraj said he was satisfied with the judgement. He
said the Proseuction had succeeded in establishing that the accused had
committed rape.

“The important contention of the Prosecution was
that there had been rape. Ragging is a crime indeed but it is not as
serious as rape. Now the court has found the accused guilty of rape. We
hope they would get punishment which would be a model,” Mohanraj said.

Gopi,
father of the girl said he was relieved to hear the judgement. He hoped
that the judgement would serve as a deterrent to such crimes in the
future.

Meanwhile, the counsel for co-accused Dr Muraleedharan
Nair said after the pronouncement of the verdict that he file damage
petition against the Government now that he had been acquitted. “My
client was a reputed Government servant who had out in 26 years of
service for the people.

He does not deserve to be treated like
this. Now the court has found that there has been no evidence to prove
his involvement in the case. We will approach the court,” the counsel
said.

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