A sessions court in Ahmednagar on Saturday convicted three men for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kopardi last year. The court is likely to pronounce quantum of sentence on November 22.District and Sessions judge Suvarna Kevale found “concrete evidence” against the three accused - Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G. Bhaval and Nitin G. Bhailume - and convicted them on the charges rape, murder and conspiracy.On July 13, 2016, minor belonging to Maratha community from Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district was raped and murdered by three, triggering massive protests across the state. Kopardi is 120 km from Pune.The victim was returning home in the evening from the grandfather’s house when the trio grabbed her at an isolated location and committed crime, according to the 350-page chargesheet in the case.The protest galvanized Marathas against Dalits as the accused were Dalits. While the agitation was largely peaceful, Dalits came under attack at a few places in Nashik .The protest forced government to appoint Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor and fast track the case. According to prosecution, there were total 24 circumstantial evidences produced before the court during the course of trial.“We thank public prosecutor, chief minister and the entire Maratha community for their efforts in bringing the accused to books. We expect the convicts to be awarded capital punishment,” said the mother of the victim after court verdict. According to Nikam, the entire case was based on circumstantial evidence as there was no eye-witness available. “The forensic tests proved that the blood stains of victim were found on the clothes of convict. The court also accepted this and held the three accused guilty,” said Nikam.