Kolkata: Soon after a lower court declared six of the eight accused guilty in the Kamduni gang rape and murder case, the victim’s family on Thursday demanded capital punishment for all of them and urged the government to move the judiciary against the acquittal of the two others.
“Whatever we have to say, we will say tomorrow (Friday). Let the verdict come,” said the victim’s brother outside the court premises.
Her grandfather demanded that all the accused be given capital punishment.
Mousumi Koyal, the victim’s friend and spearhead of the protests in the aftermath of the June 7, 2013 incident in Kamduni village of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, regretted that the probe was not done properly.
“I don’t know how two of the accused were unconditionally released. It will be great if the government appeals against their acquittal.”
Pradip Mukherjee, former headmaster of Kamduni Primary School who was also in the forefront of the protest against the gang rape, also expressed surprised at the two accused being pronounced not guilty.
“As per the stringent provisions for rape now, anybody present at the scene of the crime will be punished. How come two of them went scot free?
“But I hear the highest quarters of the administration have sensed there is something wrong and they are thinking of making an appeal. That’s good. Let us hope for the best.”
Government pleader Anindya Routh said the prosecution had asked for the maximum punishment for all the accused.
“Let us get the copy of the judgment. After that we will talk to the department concerned, and take whatever steps are required. We had sought maximum punishment for all the accused.”
On the other hand, state Education Minister and ruling Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee said one has to abide by the court judgment.
“Whatever the court decides, that’s the best. We can’t go beyond that.”
However, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said: “A judge gives the verdict based on the probe findings. If the investigators fail to present adequate evidence, the judge cannot do anything.
“In this case, the administration has not acted properly. That’s the reason two of the accused have escaped punishment.”
Over two years and seven months after the gang rape and murder of the 20-year-old undergraduate student who was attacked on her way home from college, Additional City and Sessions Judge Sanchita Sarkar, pronounced Saiful Ali, Ansar Ali and Amin Ali guilty of gang rape and murder, and criminal conspiracy. The maximum punishment under these sections is death.
Three other accused — Sheikh Emanul Islam, Aminur Islam and Bhola Naskar — were pronounced guilty of gang rape, criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of evidence. They could face the maximum punishment of life sentence.
Rafiqul Islam and Nur Ali were acquitted, while the ninth accused Gopal Naskar died while the trial was on.