To enrich and exchange the cultural traditions and heritages between different regions, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), under the ministry of culture organised the National Folk Festival recently in association with the cultural department of Kerala at Kollam.
The Ernakulam additional district sessions court on Tuesday sentenced to death Ashafaq Alam (28), a Bihar native, who was convicted of abduction, rape, and murder of a five-year-old girl in Aluva,
K Soman, the Special Judge who tried the case booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), awarded the death punishment to Asafak Alam on Children’s Day.
Accepting the prosecution’s argument that the case comes under the rarest of the rare category, the Judge upheld the 13 charges levelled against the convict, including murder, kidnapping, torture, indignity to a human corpse, destroying evidence, and three POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) charges.
The death sentence was awarded to the convict for the offence of murder under IPC 302. Apart from the death sentence, the court also awarded him life imprisonment till the end of his natural life under Section 5 (i) for penetrative sexual assault causing grievous hurt or causing bodily harm and injury or injury to the sexual organs of the child. He was also awarded punishment of life imprisonment under Section 5(m) of the POCSO Act for penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years
The court, in its order, noted that the rape and murder case sent shockwaves across the society. The children are unable to play even at home. “If we allow the accused to live, it would be a threat to the girls in the upcoming generation. If the maximum sentence is not imposed against the accused, the court will be deemed to have failed in its duty,” the court observed.
The court also quoted Nelson Mandela’s statement that the true nature of a society is revealed by looking at how that society treats its children.
The prosecution argued that the case comes under the rarest-of-rare category and therefore the highest punishment of the land should be given to the convict. A total of 41 witnesses were examined in the case .The police wrapped up the investigation in the case and filed the chargesheet in court within 30 days
The appalling incident had sent shockwaves across the state took place on July 28. Alam abducted the child from her family’s rented house in Aluva and took her to a garbage-littered place behind the Aluva market where she was raped and murdered. The lifeless body of the five-year-old girl was recovered on July 29 after the accused confessed to the crime, in a garbage yard in Aluva, near Kochi
Reacting to the death sentence awarded to the convict, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the punishment should be seen as a strong warning to those who commit violence against children.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order, M R Ajithkumar said the convict received capital punishment because the police and the prosecution were able to prove it as a rarest of rare case.
It was 110 days after the crime that the final verdict of the case was pronounced, which by itself is an achievement as far as the Kerala police are concerned, said M R Ajithkumar.