After being found guilty by a lower court of raping a minor girl in 2017, prominent Indian lawmaker Kuldeep Sengar from the ruling BJP party, was sentenced on Friday to life imprisonment.
New Delhi Judge Dharmesh Sharma also ordered Sengar to pay a fine of 2.5 million rupees ($35,715) to the victim.
Sengar broke down in the courtroom after he heard his sentenced. He was found crying along with his daughter and sister.
Sengar has been convicted under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 5 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault of a child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), as the court found that the girl was a minor at the time of the offence.
He was arrested in April last year and expelled from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was a Member of Legislative Assembly from northern Uttar Pradesh state.
The teen victim also accused the BJP of shielding the lawmaker and police of delaying his prosecution.
The girl said Sengar was known to her family because they were from the same village in Uttar Pradesh state. She accused Sengar of raping her in June 2017 when she went to his home in Unnao district, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Lucknow, the state capital.
Violent crimes against women have been on the rise in India despite tough laws enacted in 2013. In 2012, the fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a moving bus in the heart of New Delhi prompted hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets to demand stricter rape laws.
The outrage over the New Delhi attack spurred quick action on legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking, and the trafficking of women. Indian lawmakers also voted to lower to 16 from 18 the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes. (Source: INQUIRER.net)