The state should also provide the survivors with jobs, the court said in its order.
The Madras High Court on Friday upheld the convictions of 215 people involved in the heinous 1992 Vachathi Atrocities Case. In 2011, a lower court had convicted 215 policemen, forest and revenue officials for raping 18 women and torturing men in the tribal village of Vachathi in Tamil Nadu.
On Jun 20, 1992, the village was raided by police teams along with forest and revenue officials who were looking for smuggled sandalwood hidden in the area. Over three days, the assault on the villagers, who were seen as "silent supporters" of dreaded bandit Veerappan, continued.
On Friday, the high court upheld the lower court's 2011 order while dismissing the convicts' appeal against it. The lower court had sentenced them to 1 to 10 years in jail.
It also ordered the government to provide Rs 10 lakh each as compensation to the 18 rape survivors, out of which Rs 5 lakh has to be recovered from each of the rape convicts.
The state should also provide the survivors with jobs and help them or their families with self-employment opportunities, the court said in its order.
Out of the 269 accused in the case, 126 were forest officials, 84 police personnel and five revenue officials were found guilty 12 years ago. Fifty-four of the accused had died before the judgement was passed.
The court has also directed the government to take strict action against the then district collector, Superintendent of Police (SP), and Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) who had failed to act against the accused.