Mumbai: 23-year-old gets life for raping minor, who had set herself ablaze

A Mumbai sessions court sentenced a 23-year-old man to life imprisonment yesterday for raping a 12-year-old in 2012. The girl had set herself ablaze immediately after the incident and had died a month later, leading to the accused, Sanjay Rajbhar alias Chabbu, who was 20 years old at the time of the incident, being charged with abetment to suicide as well.

The judgment was delivered by special women’s court judge A S Shende, who sentenced Rajbhar to life imprisonment under Sections 376 (Rape) and 305 (Abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. During the course of the trial, Public Prosecutor Kalpana Hire examined around 11 witnesses, including the deceased’s mother and brother.

The deceased was a resident of the same area as the accused Marol, Andheri (East) and when mid-day approached the deceased girl’s family, they said they were unaware of the verdict. Reacting to the news of the sentencing, the girl’s mother said, “We finally feel that at least some justice has come our way.

We were pressured by the accused’s family and the police were also not supporting us in the initial stages.” The family members said that justice will truly be done only when Rajbhar is hanged.

Haunting memories
Recalling what is unquestionably the worst thing that has ever happened to them, the girl’s mother said, “I can never forget that day. Only I know what we went through.

It was June 17, 2012, and my daughter did not have school that day. Everyone was home and, around 12:30 pm, her father said he wanted to have bread, so I asked my son to go get it. My daughter, who is no more, said she wanted to have butter with the bread and asked for money so she could go buy butter as well.”

“I gave her the money and asked her to look for her brother and give the money to him. She called out to him, went towards him to give him the money, but she didn’t return. When her brother returned home, I asked him where his sister was and he said she had given him the money and left.

I told him I heard cries of ‘maa’ from a neighbouring house and asked him to check there. He saw the door was open, went inside and immediately came out and told me that my daughter was there. He said she was crying and Chabbu was sleeping on her,” she added.

“I went inside and saw that he had put a towel on my daughter’s mouth and was doing wrong things with her. He then took that towel off my daughter’s mouth and covered himself with it.

My daughter was crying and shivering and I took her home. We all then went to confront Chabbu, but he began waving a knife and threatening us and shouting at us instead. That’s when we heard some noise and ran towards our house only to find that my daughter had set herself ablaze,” said the mother.

“The incident shook me up and we went through so many problems even after that, including dealing with pressure from the accused’s family, who wanted us to take back the complaint. However, I was firm that the accused should get punished and I wanted justice for my little daughter.”

'Give him death'
The deceased girl’s sister said, “She was very scared after the incident and she used to say that she had attempted suicide fearing that mother, father and the police would have beaten her up. She kept screaming even in the hospital.

Once, when she was feeling a little better, she said she would go to Chabbu and teach him a lesson when she recovered. But she breathed her last due to her injuries on July 19, 2012.” “Chabbu is a horrible man. He had committed such acts when he was in UP and that was why he was brought to Mumbai.

Once, when he and his gang were blocking the way out of the society, I shouted at them a little and he had said he would teach me a lesson one day. I think he did what he did to take revenge. Such men should get a death sentence, not life imprisonment, and only then common people like us will believe in law and justice. I wish I could meet him once. I would teach him the worst lesson of his life,” she added.

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