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Labourer who killed neighbour’s 4-year-old daughter jailed for life

Slashed girl’s throat with a sickle in 2018 to settle score with her father for not letting him run a stall in the same spot as him

chandigarh Updated: Sep 13, 2019 01:07 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The girl’s parents had found Kamlesh clenching their daughter’s neck between his legs, with blood oozing from her throat.
The girl’s parents had found Kamlesh clenching their daughter’s neck between his legs, with blood oozing from her throat.(HT PHOTO)
         

A labourer, who murdered a four-year-old girl in February 2018 over business rivalry with her father, was sentenced to life imprisonment till death on Thursday.

The convict, Kamlesh, a daily wager, lived in Labour Colony, Industrial Area, Phase 1, where the victim was his neighbour. Envious of her father’s samosa stall, he had slashed her throat with a sickle in full public view in their neighbourhood on February 25, 2018.

In court, Kamlesh, father of two, pleaded for leniency, stating that he was not in a “fit state of mind” and under psychiatric treatment prior to the incident.

However, the public prosecutor demanded either death sentence or life in prison, besides imposition of fine.

‘NOT A RAREST OF RARE CASE’

The court of additional district and sessions judge Rajeev Goyal observed that it was a well-settled proposition of law that for awarding capital punishment, the case had to fall within the category of “rarest of rare cases”.

The present case did not fall in the category, the court ruled, adding that the convict had no criminal tendency and he had never been accused of a criminal offence, let alone be convicted. “Thus the present case is a case of cold-blooded murder,” the court mentioned.

Observing that “extreme penalty of death sentence is not required”, the order stated, “It is difficult to hold that the convict is menace to society. There is no reason to believe that he cannot be reformed or rehabilitated and that he is likely to continue criminal acts of violence as would constitute a continuing threat to the society.”

As such, convicting Kamlesh under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, the court sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life, till the end of his natural life, and pay ₹25,000 as fine.

Hearing the judgment, the victim’s teary-eyed father said, “Why was he left to live? Had he been hanged, my daughter’s soul could rest in peace.”

Clenching a picture of his daughter in hand, he said, “She hadn’t even learnt to say baba. She was too young to meet this fate. I never used to let her go out alone. But those five minutes changed everything.”

NURSED GRUDGE AGAINST VICTIM’S FATHER

The order mentioned that the child’s father, who used to run a samosa stall, was opposed to Kamlesh running a similar business in the same spot.

According to police, the accused had told the investigating official that his wife was unhappy with him for not setting up a roadside cart, and had left him. Therefore, nursing a grudge against the girl’s father, he caught hold of her child and killed her.

‘OUR LIVES CHANGED IN 5 MINUTES’

Recalling the fateful day, the complainant, father of two other children, said, “It was a Sunday. I was in my shanty with my mother, wife and two other children. Our four-year-old daughter had just stepped outside to play in the street. In less than five minutes, I heard people screaming. When I rushed out, I saw him standing outside his shanty, squeezing my child’s neck between his legs and holding a sharp-edged weapon in his hand.”

As my pregnant wife and I rescued out daughter, whose neck was bleeding, no one stepped forward to help us, he said.

The child was rushed to a hospital, but declared brought dead. A few weeks after that, his wife suffered a miscarriage.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 01:06 IST