Kopardi gang rape case: Triumphant Marathas hail historic verdict

Nov 30, 2017, 16:19 IST | Dharmendra Jore

The death sentence in the Kopardi gang rape case is justice not just for the victim's family, but for the entire Maratha community, which came together in an unprecedented show of strength after the gruesome crime

The death sentence in the Kopardi gang rape case is justice not just for the victim's family, but for the entire Maratha community, which came together in an unprecedented show of strength after the gruesome crime.

The incident prompted the entire Maratha community to march across the state in protest. File pic
The incident prompted the entire Maratha community to march across the state in protest. File pic

Sakal Maratha Samaj, which organised over 50 protest marches in the state under the Maratha Kranti Morcha, welcomed the sentence. The gang rape resulted in a widened rift between the Maratha and Dalit communities - the accused were Dailts - at a time when the Marathas were already pushing for changes to The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which they say was being misused by Dalits to lodge cases against them.

While the protest was sparked by the girl's death, the Maratha community also demanded for quota in education and jobs, among other benefits. The state granted some sops to the community, but reservation is still pending. The community had also accused the government of delaying the trial, but the allegation was dismissed. The community now wants the government to represent the case very strongly in upper courts, if the guilty move to appeal.

No slowing down yet
"Though the Marathas led from the front, the protest was supported by all sections of society, seeking protection for women from brutalities that are inflicted by inhuman people. The verdict is historic and it is expected to act as a deterrent. We thank the court," said Sanjeev Bhor, a senior activist from Ahmednagar and member of Sakal Maratha Samaj.

"The guilty will move the high court. The government must not allow them any relief in upper courts. We would also want the appeal to be heard quickly, so the sentence can be confirmed. Then all three should be hanged immediately. Look what they have done in Delhi's Nirbhaya case, in which the guilty are yet to be hanged," he added.

CM, politicos say
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the verdict has enhanced people's faith in the judiciary, as the trial was conducted in the shortest time possible. "The defence lawyers did try their best to delay the trial, but the government pleaders thwarted them. The defence lawyers were penalised twice for delaying tactics. I think the sentence should stop recurrence of such gruesome crimes against women," said Fadnavis.

State Congress president Ashok Chavan said the victim's family was granted justice. "The Congress government amended the law after the Nirbhaya case, as a result of which the Kopardi trial could end as early as possible. The government should now get the sentence confirmed in the high court and Supreme Court," he said.

Vinod Tawde, a senior Maratha minister in the BJP government, said that the court has endorsed the people's demand by sentencing the guilty to the gallows. "The incident had rocked the state and people wanted the harshest punishment for the rapists. We thank the judiciary and prosecution," he said. NCP leader Supriya Sule was confident that the verdict would help prevent further rapes.

'Show hanging on TV'
Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, suggested that the three rapists should be hanged in full view, at a public square in the village where the rape was committed. "The hanging should be shown live on TV," said Jaleel, adding, "Such rapists are hanged in full public view in Arab countries to deter others from such heinous acts."

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