In­dian lawmaker gets life for raping teenager

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New Delhi, In­dia - An In­dian lawmaker was sen­tenced to life on Fri­day for raping a teenager whose plight po­lice ig­nored un­til she tried to set her­self on fire, in a case high­light­ing the im­punity of­ten en­joyed by the pow­er­ful.

The day af­ter she did so last year her fa­ther died in po­lice cus­tody, with the fam­ily al­leg­ing he was tor­tured for pur­su­ing the case. Later she was crit­i­cally in­jured in a sus­pi­cious car crash.

On Mon­day the court con­victed Kuldeep Singh Sen­gar of raping the-then 17 year old at his home in Ut­tar Pradesh state in 2017, and his sen­tence was handed down on Fri­day.

Sen­gar (53) was ex­pelled from Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Au­gust as the case started to make head­lines - but re­mained a lawmaker.

“This court does not find any mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stance. Sen­gar was (a) pub­lic ser­vant and (he) be­trayed peo­ple’s faith," the Press Trust of In­dia news agency re­ported the judge as say­ing.

Af­ter her rape, po­lice in the north­ern state ini­tially re­fused to take ac­tion on her com­plaint against the four-time leg­is­la­tor.

Nearly a year af­ter her as­sault, the girl tried to set her­self on fire out­side the home of Ut­tar Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter, and BJP stal­wart, Yogi Adityanath, in protest.

A sep­a­rate trial is be­ing held over the car ac­ci­dent that in­jured the woman.

The case was heard in Delhi from Au­gust 5 af­ter the Supreme Court or­dered the trial be moved from Ut­tar Pradesh, where the politi­cian en­joyed con­sid­er­able clout.

Sen­gar de­nied the charges. He was also fined R2.5mn (US$35,120).

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