Sex scandal involving powerful men shocked Srinagar 12 years ago.
A special court on Wednesday sentenced five persons, including a former senior officer of the Border Security Force (BSF), to 10 years of imprisonment for their involvement in the rape and sexual exploitation of a minor girl in Srinagar 12 years ago.
The Central Bureau of Investigation court in Chandigarh also fined KC Padhi, former BSF deputy inspector general, and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, former deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Rs 1 lakh each. Jammu and Kashmir residents Shabbir Ahmed Laway, Shabbir Ahmed Langhoo, and Masud Ahmed were fined Rs 50,000 each.
The fines will be used to compensate the rape victim for the loss of her reputation, dignity, mental harm and lost of opportunity for education. “A victim of rape inevitably suffers acute trauma. Rape itself brings enormous shame to the victim,” said judge Geetanjali Goel.
Mehraj-ud-din Malik, a hotel owner, and Anil Sethi, a former additional advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir, had been acquitted last week.
Srinagar was shocked in May 2006 after a CD containing pornographic images of a 15-year-old girl was handed over to the police, exposing a sex scandal that threw up names of ministers, legilators and other powerful men. Sabeena, who used one name, and her husband, Abdul Hamid Bullah, who allegedly ran a brothel in Srinagar, were named as the main accused in the scandal but died during the trial.
“Most of the girls of poor families become prey to satisfy the lust of a man for a petty amount to ruin their lives,” said Goel in her order.
“…it is the system which is responsible to bring the poor minor girls in such muddy profession of flesh trade, where once chain starts, then goes on and ultimately, creates a network and the girls, women who (were) once pushed into its vicious circle they never come out of it despite their willingness.”
The CBI, which took over the case from the state police in May 2006, had named four victims but three of whom turned back on their statements during trial. The remaining victim was kept in protective custody.
(With inputs from Tanbir Dhaliwal)
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