Three found guilty in Kolkata Park Street gang rape case (Roundup)

Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) Nearly nine months after her death, the Anglo-Indian woman gang-raped on Kolkata’s Park Street in 2012 finally got justice on Thursday with a court pronouncing guilty all three accused who were on trial in the sensational case.

The woman — then 40 years old, a divorcee and mother of two — was beaten up and gang-raped at gun-point inside a moving car and then thrown off the vehicle near a city intersection on the night of February 5, 2012, after she had come out of a night club on the fashionable Park Street.

Passing the judgment during in-camera proceedings, Additional Sessions Judge Chiranjib Bhattacharya of the City Sessions Court pronounced Ruman Khan, Naser Khan and Sumit Bajaj guilty of gang rape.

The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Friday.

The accused were found guilty of gang rape, criminal conspiracy, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and common intention, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

However, main accused Kader Khan and a co-accused Ali are still absconding.

The courageous and gutsy Anglo-Indian woman, who came forward and revealed her identity on television in June 2013, grittily fought her case for three years against heavy odds.

Days after she filed the complaint on February 9, 2012, ignoring disparaging comments and initial reluctance of Park Street police station personnel, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it a “cooked up case” and alleged that the woman was trying to malign the state government.

Banerjee’s remarks were widely flayed by the civil society and the public, but that was not the end of the raped woman’s ordeal.

Trinamool MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar called the entire episode “a sex deal gone wrong”, while then minister Madan Mitra questioned what she was doing at a night club so late in the night and dubbed the rape allegation a “fabricated complaint meant to extort money”.

Later on, several of her Facebook photographs were morphed and splashed around social media.

But the fire-brand campaigner refused to hide in the darkness.

She decided to go public about her ordeal and even urged the world to call her a “rape survivor” and not as the “Park Street rape victim”.

Instead of cowering, she walked with her head held high, amid comparisons with the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim and the ‘bad victim versus good victim’ debate.

Unlike the Delhi gang rape victim, the Park street rape survivor had all the qualifications for being the proverbial bad girl.

She never finished college, was a smoker, used to drink and couldn’t hold on to a regular job.

But that didn’t deter her from living life to the fullest, a message she passed on to her two children.

Over the months and years, she almost became a symbol of women’s fight against atrocities, oppression and injustice.

She went all out in support of the marginalised and eagerly participated in the ‘slutwalks’ and marches for gender equity.

In the 2014 edition of the Kolkata ‘slutwalk’, she had told IANS: “We want a humane society where women are respected and not looked down upon.”

But the woman did not live to see her moment of victory, that also coincided with the Human Rights Day. On March 13 this year, she died of multi-organ failure after being diagnosed with encephalitis.

However, on Thursday, her family did not show any rancor as they expressed happiness over the judgment. The woman’s father said her family was “very happy” with the judgment.

“We are very happy with the judgment. We are very sad for the families of the people who are going to be convicted. But we are more glad and happy and pleased and thankful to the Bengal government, to the police and the judicial system for all they have done to help my daughter and my family,” he said.

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