Observing that two men who targeted and raped a Ugandan woman on the assumption that she was “a lonely foreign national” had brought “India in disrepute in the eyes of the world”, a Delhi court has sent the accused to jail for 30 years.
“By choosing a foreign national as their target, they have shown that they do not care even for the respect and dignity of our country. Their act has brought India in disrepute in the eyes of the world. Incidents like the instant one brings a very bad name to the country itself,” said additional sessions Judge Virender Bhat while sentencing Delhi residents Raj Kumar and Dinesh Sharma.
Ever since the brutal gang rape of a young physiotherapy student in a moving bus on December 16, 2012, India has been increasingly viewed in the international community as “the most dangerous place in the world for women”.
A year after the incident, tourism statistics show that up to 35 per cent fewer women visited the country, while the overall influx of foreign nationals took a 10% dive.
There have also been other high-profile rape cases involving foreign nationals such as the March 2013 gang rape of a 39-year-old Swiss woman who was camping with her husband in Madhya Pradesh and the rape of a 52-year-old Danish woman last year.
International media covered both incidents extensively, and the Swiss government issued a statement demanding justice in the case involving their citizen.
The court had earlier convicted both Kumar and Sharma for kidnapping, gang rape, assault, theft and criminal intimidation. In doing so, it had rejected the DNA report, which was inconclusive, and relied on the survivor’s testimony.
“The medical evidence or the forensic evidence is based upon the performance of machine used by the expert, certain calculations made by the expert and also on some guess work,” said the judge while the convict’s defence that DNA evidence could not prove their guilt.
It added that, if corroborating evidence could be found, a victim’s statement was ample evidence to convict.
According to the prosecution, a Ugandan national woman was kidnapped by the convicts in their car in Janakpuri area on June 18, 2014 at around 11.30 pm.
Both Kumar and Sharma took her to a house in Uttam Nagar where they raped her one by one and left her early in the morning near Metro Pillar no. 781.
The woman, who was not comfortable speaking English, recorded her statements before the magistrate with the help of an attache at Ugandan embassy and submitted her written statements.
The accused, after being arrested, also refused to undergo test identification parade (TIP). The court said this move was a deliberate attempt to avoid being identified by the Ugandan woman.