The juvenile accused in the horrific December 16 gang rape finally ‘came of age’ on Tuesday.
According to a source close to him, who did not wish to be identified, it was a quiet occasion — not even a celebration — at the government-run ‘Place of Safety’ in north Delhi’s Timarpur where he is lodged at the moment. “He is allowed to meet his legal counsel and to talk to his family over the phone. He was allowed to contact his family on his birthday. The chat was normal and did not last too long,” said the source.
A city court had, on January 28, ‘accepted’ the fact that he was indeed a juvenile — aged 17 years and six months at the time of the sordid incident — and hence deserved a chance at reformation instead of punishment. Angry protests aimed at changing the law of the land had followed. According to the police, the juvenile had subjected the 23-year-old physiotherapist to sexual abuse twice — once when she was unconscious — in addition to extracting her intestines with his hands and suggesting that she be thrown off the moving vehicle devoid of her clothes.
According to authorities, the juvenile will continue to remain in the Place of Safety, where he has been lodged ever since he was attacked by some inmates at an observation facility soon after the incident, till the verdict is announced.
Even if he is pronounced guilty, despite the fact that he is now an adult, he will, at best, be incarcerated in a ‘Special Home’ for three years in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act. The source claimed he was more ‘fortunate’ than his co-accused who are allegedly subjected to abuse at west Delhi’s Tihar Jail where the main accused Ram Singh was found dead in mysterious circumstances.