One sentenced to death, 24 to life imprisonment for lynching 73-year-old Assam doctor
The pictures of the assault, which soon went viral on social media, created a sense of terror among doctors posted in tea gardens across Assam.Updated: Oct 21, 2020, 01:10 IST
One person was sentenced to death and 24 others given life imprisonment on Tuesday by a court in Assam’s Jorhat in connection with lynching of a 73-year-old doctor last year.
District and session judge Robin Phukan sentenced accused Sanjay Rajwar to death for murdering Dr. Deben Dutta, a resident doctor of Teok Tea Estate hospital in Jorhat district in August last year.
On October 12, the court had pronounced 25 of the total 32 accused in the case as guilty while acquitting 6 others. One accused had died during trial.
“Besides death sentence to one and life imprisonment to 24, the court directed all the 25 accused to pay a fine of Rs 1000 each, failing which they will have to undergo additional one month’s imprisonment,” said a prosecution lawyer after Tuesday’s verdict.
An irate mob, mostly comprising tea garden workers, had assaulted Dr Dutta on August 31, 2019, holding him responsible for the death of a patient in Teok TE.
He was rushed to the Jorhat Medical College, where he was declared brought dead.
The pictures of the assault, which soon went viral on social media, created a sense of terror among doctors posted in tea gardens across Assam.
At least seven doctors, who were working in tea gardens, had resigned within a week of Dr Dutta’s murder.
Police had arrested 32 people, including three brothers of the deceased patient, following the barbaric attack under various sections of Indian Penal Code and the Assam Medicare Service Persons & Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2011.
The incident was condemned by Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors in Assam resorted to a one-day strike in protest. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Investigation into the case was concluded within a record time of 21 days and a voluminous 602-page charge sheet submitted on September 21 last year.
According to Assam Police, this is the first case in the country where ‘witness identity concealment approach’ was used. A total of 60 people including tea garden employees, journalists, the doctor’s family members, police personnel and forensic experts were named as witnesses.
Of them 56 deposed during the trial of the case. According to reports, seven of the witnesses are being kept under a witness identity protection scheme.