On Thursday, a special court in Kerala, India, convicted three senior students of School of Medical Education (SME) Nursing College in Kottayam for raping a junior student during ragging, a report
says. Three main accused students were sentenced under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including Section 354 (use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman) and Section 377 (2) g (gang rape) and under the provisions of the Prohibition of Ragging Act 1998.
Renjith Varghese, 24, and Sherin Shamsudeen, 25, were reportedly
sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000 ($390.80) each, and the third accused Shefique Yusef, 24, was sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
The court exculpated six of the nine accused, including three former members of School of Medical Education, Kottayam, for want of evidence.
It is reported that on 21 October, 2005, six senior nursing students of the SME Nursing College in Kottayam accosted a fresher student, a 17-year-old girl, and later the student lodged a complaint accusing the seniors had sexually molested her in the lab in the name of ragging. Initially she did not reveal the incident to anyone and went home, but later she broke down after returning to college a week later. The incident came to light when student organizations took up the matter and a team of doctors confirmed that the victim was sexually assaulted.
A few college members and accused students reportedly tried their best to sleek over the case and the girl was forcibly admitted in the psychiatry ward of the same medical college. However, Dr Saibunisa Beevi, who treated the girl and later accused for not complying with medico-legal formalities, was acquitted by the court. The former principal KM Mariam, who was accused of withholding girl’s complaint, was also let off for insufficient evidence.
Special prosecutor Mohan Raj said the prosecution would appeal against the acquittal of the six accused.
The girl, who is a daughter of a poor rubber plant employee, subsequently left the college. It is also reported that in 2007, there was an attempt on her life.
The father of the victim said:
"I am really happy; the judicial system is there to protect the poor. I am satisfied with the verdict.”