BHOPAL: In a significant development, two men were convicted for raping two minors and awarded death penalty by courts in separate cases in Gwalior and Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh on Friday.
With this, five men have been convicted and sentenced to death by courts in the central Indian state for raping and killing minors over two and half months. In Gwalior district, a 25-year-old ice cream seller Jitendra Kushwah was handed over death sentence by a special court for kidnapping, raping and brutally murdering a 6-year-old girl on June 20-21 intervening night.
Another special court in Katni district awarded death penalty to a 33-year-old auto-rickshaw driver Rajkumar Kol for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old school girl, who he daily drove to school with other kids.
The court of Special Judge (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012-POCSO Act Cases) Archana Singh in Gwalior district, pronounced 25-year-old ice cream seller Jitendra Kushwah guilty for raping and brutally murdering a six-year-old girl, before dumping her body in the dense forests in Kampoo police station area of Gwalior district on June 20-21.
Pronouncing the verdict in the case, the special judge awarded double death penalty to the convict after holding him guilty under Section 302 (murder) and 376 AB (rape) of IPC. He was also convicted for kidnapping the minor and slapped with Rs 6,000 penalty under other IPC sections.
According to the counsel for the deceased girl's family Somveer Yadav, "it was a historic judgment delivered by the special judge, taking into account the gruesome crime committed by the accused. The justice was delivered in the case following 13 days of trial. A total of 33 witnesses recorded their statements in support of the prosecution's case."
Importantly, the six-year-old girl who hailed from adjoining Bhind district had come with family to attend the marriage of a close relative at the community hall in Kampoo police station area of Gwalior district on June 20.
The accused, Jitendra Kushwah (a native of Gwalior only) lured the girl out of the marriage function with an ice cream. He then took her to forests (around half km from marriage hall) and raped her, besides having anal sex with her. He subsequently murdered the girl brutally, inflicting 19 wound all around her body to kill her.
The girl's face was hit a stone repeatedly to mutilate it beyond imagination. Meanwhile, a special court in Katni district also awarded death sentence to 33-year-old Rajkumar Kol for allegedly sexually assaulting a five-year-old school girl, who daily travelled in Kol's auto-rickshaw to the school. The Special Judge Madhuri Raj Lal Tamrakar pronounced the accused guilty and awarded death sentence to him for sexually assaulting the minor on July 4.
According to Katni district prosecution officer DS Taran, it's the first time that death sentence has been awarded to anyone for raping a minor in Katni district, since the Narendra Modi government brought the ordinance in April 2018 paving the passage for death penalty as maximum punishment for those convicted for raping minors aged up to 12 years.
The double death sentence awarded by the Gwalior special court to Jitendra Kushwah for raping and murdering the 6-year-old girl was the first double death sentence to an accused convicted under the law amended post the Modi government ordinance.
Prior to this, a special court in Indore had on May 12 awarded double death penalty to a 26-year-old man for kidnapping, raping and murdering the four-month-old daughter of his nephew on April 20 early morning in the heart of Indore city. But the verdict, in that case, was not delivered under the amended law, as the ghastly act had taken place two days prior to the April 22 ordinance.
With the special courts in Gwalior and Katni awarding death sentence in the two separate cases of rape-murder and sexual assault of minors on Friday, a total of five men have so far been awarded death sentence by courts for raping minors in MP over the last two and half months.
May 12 - 26-year-old man gets a double death sentence for raping and killing nephew's 4-month-old daughter in Indore.
May 17 - A 19-year-old man sentenced to death by a court in Dhar district for raping and killing a 4-year-old girl.
July 7 - A 40-year-old man sentenced to death by a special court in Sagar district for raping a 9-year-old girl at a temple on May 21.
July 27 - 25-year-old ice cream seller awarded double death sentence by a special court in Gwalior district for raping and murdering a 6-year-old girl on June 20-21 intervening night.
July 27 - 33-year-old auto-rickshaw driver sentenced to death by a special court in Katni for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old school girl on July 4.