A Bihar court on Friday gave seven-year prison terms to five people convicted of assaulting and parading a Dalit woman naked in Bhojpur district in August, PTI reported. Fifteen other accused were sentenced to two years in prison. The convicts had assaulted and stripped the woman because they suspected her of being involved in the death of a 19-year-old man, PTI reported.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Ramesh Chandra Dwivedi also imposed fines on the convicts – the first set of five people were ordered to pay Rs 10,000 each, and the others Rs 2,000 each. All the accused were convicted under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act on Wednesday.
On August 20, people in Bihiya area found the body of Vimalesh Sah, who had gone missing, lying near a railway track, Bhojpur police chief Avakash Kumar said. Soon after, residents of Sah’s village, Damodarpur, set several shops on fire and beat up many people. They attacked the woman’s house, dragged her out, stripped her naked and paraded her while kicking and slapping her, the police official added.
Bhojpur District Magistrate Sanjeev Kumar had told ANI that a video showed around “200 people in connection with the incident of violence and 60 in connection with stripping and thrashing the woman”.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Friday took to Twitter to criticise those who had rebuked his government in the wake of the crime. “The verdict is the latest example of the rule of law under the National Democratic Alliance’s administration,” he said. “All 20 accused in the case have been charged and convicted within 100 days.”