A Jharkhand court sentenced a middle-aged man to life in prison on Saturday for raping a nine-year-old girl, brining to end a campaign for justice by Hindustan Times that saw readers worldwide offering help to the victim.
The rapist, 45-year-old Surendra Sardar, was known to the victim who used to address him as uncle in a village in Dumaria district in July last year.
The assault left the girl with ruptured genitals and intestines in a case that came to be known as the Dumaria rape, which moved millions of people after this newspaper reported her struggle to get treatment with her father carrying her in his arms to the nearest hospital a two-hour walk away.
For nearly two months after the incident, the family shuttled from one government hospital to another in Jamshedpur and Ranchi for her treatment but in vain.
HT took up the girl’s cause on August 27 and carried a report with an appeal for help. The next day, a team travelled to her village and got the girl admitted to Ranchi’s Medanta hospital.
Jharkhand high court chief justice Virendar Singh had taken suo motto cognizance of the HT report on August 29 and ordered the state to instantly give Rs 1 lakh compensation to the victim besides bearing her medical expenses and ensuring her rehabilitation.
The victim too exhibited a tremendous resolve and courage as she travelled in an ambulance to the Ghatsila jail to identify the perpetrator which eventually led to his conviction. Today, the girl stands as an inspiration for millions the world over.
Director general of police D K Pandey said the girl’s case would serve as a morale booster for the cops which would reflect in their resolve to crack similar cases across the state. “We are happy that we could get conviction and achieve our goal,” he said.
Jamshedpur senior police superintendent Anoop T Mathew said, “It’s a major victory for the girl and the police as the court found all the sections we had invoked against Sardar true.” He said without the girl’s courage and determination, the conviction wouldn’t have been possible.
Investigating officer DSP PN Singh said they had also invoked POCSO Act against the accused. However, during the trial the father turned hostile reportedly under some pressure.