Citizens' Issues
Bihar ex-MP Shahabuddin gets life imprisonment
Former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and three others were were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Bihar court on Friday for giving an acid bath to two brothers and murdering them 11 years ago, a lawyer said.
 
Shahabuddin has been languishing in jail for several years in connection with several serious criminal cases.
 
Last Wednesday, the court convicted Shahabuddin and the three others accused in the case.
 
Shahabuddin was convicted on charges of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.
 
Additional District Judge of Siwan Special Court Ajay Kumar Srivastava pronounced the judgement and termed it as the rarest of the rare case.
 
According to a police officer, the court found Shahabuddin guilty in a 2004 case in which he and his men were charged with giving an acid bath to two brothers - Girish Raj and Satish Raj - and murdering them.
 
Shahabuddin's son Osama has also been charged with killing of a local BJP leader Rajiv Roshan, who was a witness in the same murder case.
 
The two brothers were kidnapped at Shahabuddin's behest and drenched in acid before being murdered.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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HC seeks report on December 16 gang rape convict
The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the central government on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea against the release of the juvenile convict in the December 16, 2012 gang-rape and sought an IB report about him having been radicalised.
 
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw asked the government to give the IB report in a sealed cover and posted the matter for hearing on Monday.
 
The juvenile, who was under 18 when arrested for brutal rape and murder of a para-medical student on December 16, 2012, was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. He was ordered to be keept in a remand home for three years. 
 
The juvenile is set to be released on December 15. The (Intelligence Bureau) IB had raised suspicion of the juvenile being radicalised after being shifted with a juvenile apprehended for the Delhi high court blasts.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Sensitive situations in gender relations
Handling highly volatile emotional situations is a tough job today. This is a brutally candid account of one such situation and it explores how our urge to do the ‘right’ thing may end up wronging someone
 
This article is about ‘situations’ where we fail; where we succumb to pressure; where we make mistakes and live with guilt feelings for life.  I am narrating it in the hope that it becomes a case study for many others who are bound to find themselves in such a situation.
 
It was the 2nd day of a major national convention that I was attending at Hyderabad and a major event for our institute.  At about midnight, I received a desperate telephone call from a girl student residing at our girl’s hostel in Pune. She was crying uncontrollably and it took me some time to console her (without knowing anything) and get her to speak about the reason for her distress. Finally, she said, “I have been raped. How am I going to live in this world? And it has been done by a classmate of mine outside the campus when we went for dinner.’’ She also gave me the impression that she may attempt suicide.  I was shocked. I told her that since she has not committed any mistake, she should not blame herself. I assured her that I would be there the next day and “deal with the guilty student very firmly and in the way you want me to deal with it.’’
 
I immediately called up two lady directors and her hostel mates and asked them to shadow this child and ensure that she does not take any drastic step as she had gone through a traumatic experience. I also cautioned them to keep the matter under wraps so that the boy doesn’t run away. Maintaining her reputation was the other issue. I asked our lady directors to find out more about the episode. I got to know that the incident had occurred in a flat where some of the students’ friends were staying (non-hostelites). My mind was fully occupied with how to deal with this incident. I decided to seek the advice of veteran friends attending the HRD convention. I also shared the information and sought the advice of three senior directors on how to how to handle the case.
 
Three different opinions emerged. One, that the girl should file a police case and the institute should help her to do so. Two, the institute should inform the parents and we need not take any responsibility for the incident since they were both adults who had gone outside the institute by mutual consent, when this incident took place. Three, the girl should be counselled and the boy should be rusticated and the matter reported to the police.
 
I returned to Pune the next day. Meanwhile, the two lady directors had taken the child under their wings, consoling her and taking good care of her. Two girl students were assigned not to leave her, even when she goes to the toilet. Although my house is close to the airport, I reached the campus straight from the airport. I called for a meeting of the High Power Committee (HPC) of Sri Balaji Society, which comprises all the Directors, and they were briefed by the two lady directors. All the aspects were discussed threadbare at the meeting which lasted for four hours. The Students Council was also actively involved in the discussion. I must say, that, I had always bowed before the collective wisdom.
 
The committee was in two minds about whether to inform the parents of the girl. I also heard the affected girl but she repeatedly insisted that we should not inform her parents.  “My father will kill me and also kill himself,’’ was her stand. 
 
The HPC opined that I should meet her alone, talk to her and decide the future course of action. I called the girl; she was still crying uncontrollably. It took me over an hour to bring her to her normal senses. I was very angry with the boy, and had decided to hand him over to the police immediately. But the girl cried and pleaded, “No Sir. You should not go to the police.’’
 
I told her that under the laws of the land, we have to report the incident to the police. Since she refused, we thought of filing a case on our own. We approached the police, but they said, “Unless we have a written complaint from the affected person, we cannot file a case.’’ I called the aggrieved girl again and told her that as a responsible organisation, we should inform her parents. She said, “If you inform my father, or the police, I will commit suicide.’’ 
 
I was in a fix as I was in a tricky situation. I was expected to take legal and appropriate action. We called the boy’s parents but were delaying informing the girl’s father for fear that she may take some drastic step. I was also stonewalled by the police who insisted on a written complaint. So, the ball was in our court.
 
Meanwhile, the parents of the allegedly accused boy landed in Pune. The boy in question also felt something fishy was going on since the girl was not answering his calls. Then came a shocking twist in the form of a suicide note, which he posted on his Facebook page. ‘Enough is enough. Thanks to everyone who helped me. Bye’, it said.  We had to ask some students to protect the boy until we had met his parents. His father was a thorough gentleman and was under tremendous pressure. A panel comprising me and two lady Directors were nominated to deal with the parents.
 
After the preliminaries, we told the father of the boy, “What happened is a fact. The messages shown by the girl, confirms that. Already, the news is leaking out. It is very difficult for your son to exist in this environment. So, in the interest of your own son, take him away. We will refund his entire college fees.’’
 
Tears rolling out of his eyes and hands shivering, he said, “Sir you are like God to us. If you say so, I consider that it is the right thing to do. I will take my son away.” 
 
We were relieved of some tension. The girl expressed satisfaction and requested us to close the matter. Two to three days passed. After collecting the fee-refund, the boy came to see me. Until then I had not even seen him. I had not bothered to call him and confront him, after hearing the complaint from the girl. In our mind he was guilty. He introduced himself and said, “Sir, I thought that you are God, but you did not do justice to me. You did not even ask me whether I did it (the rape) or not. You did not bother to find out whether the incident occurred, and if so, whether it was forced or consensual.  A person of your stature should have investigated these aspects of the case. Your enquiry was one-sided. My fault is that I am not a girl. Now that I am leaving, I want to tell you that I am innocent but I am leaving because you have directed me to do so. You may not trust me and I don’t want you to trust me, but I am giving you a small audio recording on CD of a discussion between her and me, a week before the incident. Once you hear it you will not be able to sleep. You won’t be able to reverse the decision or apologise to me either. And that is the punishment which I give to you.’’
 
When we heard the audio, we realised that the boy was not to be blamed. Actually, it was the girl who instigated him and wanted an experience. The tape also revealed that the girl was involved in another love affair and that her boyfriend came looking for her and had caught the two red-handed. The only way the girl could wriggle out of the situation was to cry rape. 
 
Time passed. The girl was in the highest of spirits; she subsequently got a good job placement and was gone from the institute. But what happened to the boy? Did I kill his career?  I feel guilt-ridden, whenever I think of this boy. But then, what were the other options open to me? I still don’t know!
As a post-mortem, I feel, I was indeed put in a predicament - I could not give the boy, the benefit of the doubt and I had to unconditionally go by the girl’s complaint. Was I just or unjust? I leave to you, the reader, to introspect.
 
This article is being published with kind permission from Corporate Citizen magazine
 
(Dr (Col) A Balasubramanian is Editor-In-Chief of Corporate Citizen magazine).

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

12 months ago

Every story has two sides.
Of course you were wrong in not talking to the boy. You had prejudged him without giving him a chance to give his side of the story.
I think the lesson from this is that one must gather all the facts before rushing to judgement.

S.S.A.Zaidi

12 months ago

Dr Balasubramiam did err.
Moral is that one should not get carried away by the emotional presentation of one party to a case ;the second party also should be heard.Boy should have been also questioned,and if it was done the situation would have been different and his career would not have suffered

Narendra Doshi

12 months ago

It is always better to hear/meet both sides, independently and then arrive at a decision/opinion.

imnindian

12 months ago

Really?? You still don't know what were the options available to you. It seems you are trying to convince yourself that you did the right thing.

It is a hearbreaking story but alas this is being repeated day in and day out by unscrupulous women either to exact money or revenge. While all this is going on feminists would have you believe that women are the real downtrodden. Go figure!!

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj

12 months ago

Thanks Moneylife for sharing it. One can only imagine the psychological impact this incident left on the mind of the boy. I wonder if it is any less than a rape victim. Though this article would bring nothing back to the boy, i am glad that the person who wrote this acknowledges what happened was not right.

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