Mumbai court to announce punishment for men guilty of photojournalist’s gang-rape

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Mumbai, mar 24: A Mumbai court today is likely to sentence three men convicted last week for gang-raping a 23-year-old photojournalist at the defunct Shakti Mills in the heart of Mumbai in August last year.

The trio, Mohammed Salim Ansari, Vijay Mohan Jadhav and Mohammad Qasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali, were also convicted for gang-raping an 18-year-old telephone operator at the deserted mill last year and were sentenced to life in prison on Friday. (Read)

The young photographer was on assignment at the mill with a male colleague when a gang of five men tied him up and took turns to assault her. The judge found her rapists guilty of offences that included showing pornography to her and forcing her to perform similar acts, stripping her, and destroying evidence.

While the fourth accused, Siraj Rehmat Khan, will learn his fate today, the fifth, a minor, is being tried separately by the Mumbai Juvenile Justice Board which will begin hearing the case next month.

Police had described the photographer’s attackers as unemployed school drop-outs, while neighbours say they were a gang of youths known for petty theft and drinking in the area.

The teen phone operator came forward after reading about the photographer’s ordeal which triggered massive outrage over the continuing lack of safety for women.

The Mumbai Police had nabbed the accused within three days of the gang-rape of the photojournalist and filed a 600-page-plus chargesheet against them.

A few weeks later, the police, alongwith civic authorities, cleared the desolate mill complex and increased security in the vicinity.

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