Ramgarh: Ramgarh Court campus had a tense environment on Wednesday afternoon, when amid high security deployment, the Additional District Judge (ADJ) II awarded life imprisonment to the 11 gau rakshaks (cow protectors), including a Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
The trial court, which was being monitored by Jharkhand High Court, had convicted the 11 accused on March 16 for brutally lynching Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh, for allegedly carrying beef in his Maruti van, on June 29. Twelve people, including a minor had been accused of lynching Alimuddin, on the basis of his wife, Mariam Khatoon’s statement.
“Except the minor, 11 of the accused have been convicted under section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), by the court today. Three convicts— Deepak Mishra, Chotu Verma and Santosh Singh were also found to be guilty under Section 120B of the IPC,” said Public Prosecutor SK Shukla, immediately after the verdict. He then added, “Nityanand Mahto (the BJP leader) is among them,” when asked about the BJP leader.
The seven accused, who will be serving a life imprisonment are—Vicky Sao, Sikander Ram, Vikram Prasad, Raju Kumar, Rohit Thakur, Kapil Thakur and Uttam Ram.
The public prosecutor further informed that there were 19 eye witnesses for the case and the video footage that were circulated post lynching had also been used as an evidence. He informed that footage had also been sent to a Chandigarh-based laboratory to check the authenticity of the video. The report submitted by the forensic expert confirmed that the videos was not tampered.
Minutes after the verdict, Mariam, shared with eNewsroom, “We welcome the judgment and are satisfied with the court ruling.”
Mariam, after the conviction had stated that she didn’t desire for a death penalty for the murderers of her husband. After final verdict she added, “I want people of Ramgarh to live as peacefully as they used to live earlier. Before this case, Ramgarh was not known for such kinds of incidents.”
The defence lawyer BM Tripathi, however, claimed that they would be challenging the trial court’s verdict at the Jharkhand High Court. He also added that the lack of proper evidence in this lynching case would ensure the acquittal of the 11 accused.
Mahto’s family on the hand was claiming that the BJP leader was not involved in the gruesome lynching of Alimuddin. They maintained that Mahto was merely present at the scene of crime. His nephew was seen screaming within the court premise that Nityanand was innocent, immediately after the verdict passed.
Given the sensitivity of the case, a tight security arrangement had been made inside the court campus. Informant lawyers Raju Hemburm and Mohammad Shadab were escorted out of the court, after the verdict. They could not interact with the media post sentencing.
With this exemplary judgment, it is expected that the verdict may deter cow vigilantes from attacking people from the minority community in the name of gau raksha.