Rapist marries victim, escapes conviction
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A 25-year-old man charged with raping a young hearing and speech impaired woman in Chennai has escaped conviction by marrying the victim after striking a compromise with her family members. The incident has shocked women rights activists who feel this could be a precedent-setting verdict.
The prosecution had charged Abdullah, an employee of a software company, and resident of Periyar Nagar with enticing and raping Mumtaj when she was alone in her house on November 22, 2004. Mumtaj's sister who entered the house at that time was shocked to witness the sexual assault. Later, the victim's parents lodged a complaint with the Periyar Nagar police station and a case was registered against Abdullah under Sections 417 and 376(1) of the IPC.
The case then came up for hearing before the Mahila Court, situated on the campus of the Madras High Court, where the prosecution pressed the charges against the accused. On May 30, arguments concluded and the presiding judge R Mohandas reserved judgment in the case.
However, on June 20 when the judge was preparing to deliver the verdict in the case, the defence counsel submitted that in the intervening period the accused had married the victim after striking a compromise with Mumtaj's family. The counsel produced the marriage certificate to prove that the accused and victim were man and wife. He pleaded for dropping of rape charges against the accused.
Following this the judge accepted the prayer and acquitted Abdullah.
''This is a shocking case. Since the accused and the victim are followers of Islam at a later date he could simply utter the Triple Talaq and divorce the victim. The prosecution should appeal against the verdict in the interest of justice,'' a leading women rights activist said.
(Names of the offender and victim have been changed)
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