10-yr-old’s rape: Day of sentencing reflects families’ quiet ordeal

The victim’s and the accused’s families, barring wife of the younger uncle, remained at home.

punjab Updated: Nov 02, 2017 21:04 IST
Aneesha Bedi & Arshdeep Arshi
Aneesha Bedi & Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
10 year old's rape case,Chandigarh,life imprisonment
It was on July 14 that doctors had found the girl to be 30 weeks pregnant when her mother took her to hospital after she complained of stomach ache.(Representative image)

As a court here awarded life imprisonment to two maternal uncles for rape of a 10-year-old rape girl on Thursday, both of them broke down and did not speak. The victim’s and the accused’s families too, barring wife of the younger uncle, remained at home.

The elder uncle, who had been arrested first, broke down even as arguments on the quantum of sentence were on. While both uncles refused to speak when the judge asked them if they had anything to say, their counsels, provided by the legal services authority, pleaded for mercy.

Manjit Singh, counsel of the elder uncle, said the man has three children, the eldest being 16, to be taken care of. Inderjit Bassi, counsel for younger uncle who fathered the baby girl delivered by the victim, said there was no one else to look after the family and he has an 11-year-old son.

The younger uncle’s wife was present throughout and broke down as she heard of the quantum of sentence. Later she said, “Husband toh husband hai, chahe bura lage (A husband remains husband even if I feel bad).” She met him regularly in jail even though her biggest worry remained as to how she’ll manage running the house all by herself given that her son is young.

The younger uncle eventually broke down while interacting with his wife before he was taken to jail. Talking to HT, he said, “Main apni galti maanta hoon, par ab jo ho gaya so ho gaya ( I accept my fault, but what has happened has happened).” The elder uncle, overcome with emotions, pulled his ears in a sorry gesture.

It was on July 14 that doctors had found the girl to be 30 weeks pregnant when her mother took her to hospital after she complained of stomach ache. A local court dismissed the girl’s abortion plea, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court, as the doctors said the procedure would be too risky.

On the girl’s complaint, police arrested her mother’s cousin, who was a guard at a local hotel and lived near their accommodation in a servant’s quarters of a bungalow. But the case turned on its head when DNA samples of the girl’s child — born on August 17 — didn’t match with those of the uncle, as first reported by Hindustan Times on September 11.

Seventeen days later, police arrested the man’s younger brother, who turned out to be the main accused.

The girl told police that she was first raped by the younger uncle, a cook with the same hotel as his brother, around Christmas in 2016. The other uncle, too, assaulted her repeatedly from April till early July, she said. Initially, the girl didn’t name the younger uncle, fearing he would come good on his threat of killing her parents.

Meanwhile, in the compound that houses the bungalows in whose servant quarters the families live, there was nothing overt to suggest any trauma or celebration. The girl’s family — initially going about chores in general — avoided the media and ignored knocks on the door, and completely shut themselves in, after the sentence was announced around 4.45 pm.

Several diyas (earthen lamps) and remains of candles could be seen in one corner of the quarters and on adjoining walls, suggesting that the family had celebrated Diwali.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 21:03 IST