A message needs to be sent: Up to 10 yrs in jail for 4 in racist attacks that killed youth Case forced cops to boost security for NE people
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New Delhi: Four men accused of killing Nido Tania, son of an Arunachal Pradesh legislator, in the city five years ago were sentenced to imprisonment on Friday. All were found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Saying that an innocent boy had lost his life through the “abhorrent acts” of the quartet, additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav said, “A definite message needs to be given so that citizens, particularly from the north-eastern region, feel safe in any part of the country.”
Main accused Farman was awarded a 10-year jail term, while Pawan and Sunder were sentenced to seven years each and Sunny Uppal to three years in jail. Each was also slapped with a fine Rs 20,000.
They were convicted under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The court was of the opinion that the 20-year-old Tania was assaulted by the accused at three different places and subject to racist taunts. For the court, the fact of his assault demonstrated an intention to cause injuries to the victim. Tania died on January 30, 2014.
A day earlier, Tania had enquired about an address at a shop in Lajpat Nagar. Farman and three juveniles were in the shop and on seeing Tania reportedly laughed and passed racist slurs at the Arunachal youth and his friend. Despite Tania pleading that he was in a hurry to reach the address because his friend living there was in need of medical assistance, the quartet did not cease laughing. Annoyed, Tania broke the glass counter of the shop.
Farman and the juveniles apparently beat Tania with a stick. The latter regretted his act and paid for the broken glass, but his assaulters were in no mood to spare him. They slapped him and punched him mercilessly. He returned to his sister’s house but was found
Tania suffered nine injuries on different parts of his
body dead in bed the next morning.
A chargesheet filed in May 2014 by the Central Bureau of Investigation named seven people as accused, including four adults and the three minors. One juvenile went absconding and the two others were released on probation. Farman, Pawan, Sundar and Uppal were tried and convicted. In October 2014,
➤ charges under the stringent SC/ST Act were dropped against the four accused after the court observed the prosecution had failed to establish that it was a case involving “racist slurs”.
Judge Yadav considered the sequence of events that demonstrated the “criminal mind set” of convicts. “Deterrent theory of punishment will be most appropriate for application in such cases,” he said. The court found Farman to be the “main culprit” in the episode. “Convict Farman assaulted Tania at all three places. Convict Pawan and Sunder participated in the crime and assaulted him at two places. Uppal was involved in only one incident of beating,” observed the court. New Delhi: Till not too long ago, people from north-east India had to run from pillar to post to register a complaint with Delhi Police. The Nido Tania killing changed the way the city’s police handled their grievances. After the January 2014 incident, the cops took a slew of measures related to people from that region, including the setting up of a phone helpline and a new police unit to deal with their needs.
Following Tania’s death in an apparent racist assault, Delhi Police came under fire from rights groups for failing to act on the complaint filed by friends of the 20-year-old Arunachal Pradesh youth. There were protests demanding proper treatment for the Northeasterners, leading police to put in place measures for their security in Delhi.
BS Bassi and Deepak Mishra, then the police commissioner and special commissioner (law and order), respectively, began recruiting policemen and women from the Northeast to man the helpdesks at police stations in the city. A yearly recruitment drive is still conducted to select such candidates. Delhi Police has already recruited more than 1,000 cops, among them 15 sub-inspectors.
In 2015, a special unit led by Robin Hibu, then posted as joint commissioner with Delhi Police, was formed. The Special Police Unit for North Eastern Region (SPUNER), with its office in south Delhi’s Nanakpura, began dealing with cases of harassment of people from the eight north-eastern states. Hibu roped in students from the region studying in Delhi University to form a core group that would act as the nodal point for people from the Northeast and the cops.
A helpline, 1093, was started and manned by cops recruited from those states. Delhi Police also launched a Facebook page for the people to submit their concerns. Alongside appointing nodal officers to maintain close contacts with the north-eastern groups and associations, police also identified certain pockets such as Munirka and Dwarka, where people from the region reside in good numbers.
“We have come a long way since then,” said Hibu Tamang, additional CP and current head of SPUNER. “Apart from looking after the security of the people from the north-eastern states, we are also organising cultural exchanges to bridge the gap between people from that region and the rest of the country.