Nearly three years after a 21-year-old man was arrested for raping, kidnapping and impregnating a 17-year-old girl, a fast-track court on Friday sentenced him to 20-year rigorous imprisonment.
Hassan Raja, a native of Bhatabari village, Kishanganj district, Bihar, was found guilty under Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and Sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her for marriage) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court of special judge Swati Sehgal also imposed a fine of ₹30,000 on the convict, who was employed as a chef in Chandigarh before his arrest in the case.
According to case files, the crime dates back to December 2019. The minor girl’s mother, who lives in a rented accommodation in Chandigarh, had approached the Sector-31 police station after her daughter did not return home from school on December 14, 2019. Later, it was found that she never attended school that day.
During investigation, police had recovered CCTV footage from the Chandigarh railway station that showed the minor girl leaving on a train with Hassan Raja. Further probe revealed that Raja had booked two tickets for Hyderabad and used the identity of some other female for the girl’s ticket.
Acting swiftly, police rescued the girl from the Jhansi railway station and arrested the accused on December 18, 2019.
Medical examination had revealed that the girl was raped and a few weeks pregnant. The pregnancy was subsequently terminated.
Holding Raja guilty, the court observed, “Sexual harassment of children is gross and blatant violation of their fundamental, constitutional and human rights. Such kind of sexual assault is not against an individual, but it is a grave crime against the whole society.”
”Considering the plea of the convict, age of the victim and necessity of harmonious construction between deterrence against crime vis-a-vis approach of punishment, the hand of justice need not be tampered with mercy in such like cases,” the court said, while handing down 20-year rigorous imprisonment to the convict.