10 years' jail to six for Meghalaya gang rape

A fast-track court in Meghalaya Monday convicted and sentenced six people to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment for the December 2012 gang rape of a girl.

Public prosecutor P.L. Sebastian said the six convicted and sentenced are Laston Marak, Tobath Sangma alias Patrick, Platon C. Marak, Chengchow D. Sangma, Kisen N. Marak and Chingkam Ch. Marak.

They raped the girl, 18, on the night of Dec 13, 2012 in Williamnagar.

The court, headed by ad hoc judge N.D. Sangma, pronounced the sentence.

All the six have also been fined Rs.5,000 each and, upon default, would further undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months for the offence punishable under section 376(2)(g) read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

The court also imposed a sentence of rigorous imprisonment (RI) for one year along with a fine of Rs.1,000 each and, on default, to further undergo RI for one month for the offence punishable under Section 323 read with Section 34 of the IPC.

"I further sentence all of you to undergo RI for one month along with a fine of Rs.500 each and, in default, to further undergo RI for 15 days for the offence punishable under Section 341 read with Section 34 of the IPC," Sangma pronounced in his judgment.

The judge said all these sentences shall run simultaneously, and the fines, if and when deposited, shall be paid to the rape victim through her parents.

Ten others in the case are juveniles and will be dealt with by the Juvenile Justice Board in Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills, Sebastian said.

The girl was gang raped near a school when she along with two of her female friends was on her way home after attending a festival in Williamnagar.

The six were convicted for gang rape, causing hurt and wrongful restraint, and acts done by several people in furtherance of common intention.

There has been a lot of hue and cry over the gang rape, with the state government and police accused of not taking action against the guilty.

"The sentencing of the six would surely create hope for women and children who have been longing for justice," said Civil Society Women's Organisation president Agnes Kharshiing.

Meghalaya, on an average, registers 257 criminal cases per month. Crimes against women and children rose 23 percent in 2013 over 2012.