Gang-Raped, Burnt With Cigarettes, Her Hope for Justice Now Fast-Tracked

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Gang-Raped, Burnt With Cigarettes, Her Hope for Justice Now Fast-Tracked

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A special fast-track court in Lucknow will today take up what came to be known as the Aashiana rape case

Lucknow:  At 13, she was kidnapped, gang-raped and tortured with lit cigarettes. Nine years on, she is still wading through court hearings, seeking punishment for the man who, along with five others, allegedly sexually assaulted her inside a moving car in Lucknow.

A special fast-track court in the city will today take up what came to be known as the Aashiana rape case after the neighbourhood where the incident took place.

When her case was transferred to the fast-track court recently, following tougher laws spurred by the horrific gang-rape and murder of a student in Delhi in 2012, the young woman dared to hope again.

The rape survivor, now 22, tells NDTV how for years, her life has
revolved around court dates and a protracted legal battle that has meant only trauma - physical, emotional and social.

"Only when we have a court judgement can I believe in this court, that something good has happened. We have been suffering for so long," she said.

The main accused, Gaurav Shukla, the nephew of a leader of the state's ruling Samajwadi Party, roams free. He insists he was a minor when the crime was committed, even though the Juvenile Justice Board rejected it in January last year.

Three of the six accused were convicted; two others died.

"Since January 2013, there have been 36 court dates and arguments have only happened for 30 minutes. They are using delaying tactics," said Jalaj Gupta, the woman's lawyer.

The woman's father wants closure. "We want a quick decision so we will know whether there is justice in the country or not."

The woman, who is taking her Class 12 examination, isn't willing to give up. "The day I get justice, I will have a new life," she said.


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