Uttarakhand high court on Friday upheld the death sentence of a man who raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl in November 2014.
Manish Bhandari, the counsel of the accused said, "The honourable court has upheld the death penalty. We are planning to appeal against the verdict."
In March 2016, a designated special court of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in Haldwani awarded death penalty to Akhtar Ali, one of the two guilty of raping and murdering the child.
Another Prem Pal was awarded the sentence of five years rigorous imprisonment along with the fine of Rs 20,000.
Earlier, on March 5 2016, the two men, Akhtar Ali and Prem Pal, were found guilty whereas a third accused Poksi, was acquitted of the charges.
The victim was later termed as 'Little Nirbhaya’ whose tragic assault and murder ignited statewide protests demanding justice.
The post-mortem report confirmed that she was raped and brutally murdered. All the four accused in the case Akhtar Ali (35), Prem Pal (32) and Poksi aka Junior Masih (25) were arrested.
The family of the victim were visiting Haldwani from Pithoragarh on November 18, 2014, to attend a relative’s wedding when the child went missing from Ramleela ground on November 20.
After the body of the child was found after five days of intense search operation on November 25 afternoon, public interest litigation was filed in Uttarakhand High court on November 26, 2014, by advocates of the HC demanding probe of the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation of the case.
The crime caused a public uproar in the whole state followed by protests and candle marches and was compared to the 'Nirbhaya' case of Delhi in December 2012.
Statewide protests broke out all over the region after the brutal rape and murder.