A special court in Telangana on Thursday sentenced three men to death for raping and murdering a Dalit woman last year. The court has also imposed a total fine of Rs 26,000 on them.
The body of the 30-year-old woman was found with her throat slit and stab marks on 25 November, 2019, a day after the offence. The woman used to sell balloons for a living.
Three men were arrested on November 27 and charged under relevant sections of the Indan Penal Code for gang rape and murder besides the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Additional Public Prosecutor M Ramana Reddy said.
The court found them guilty under all the sections and awarded the death penalty. The three accused had earlier pleaded not guilty.
Expressing happiness over the verdict, the woman's husband said "We are happy. Justice has been meted out and we request the court that they should be hanged immediately."
The Telangana government had last month issued orders, designating the Fifth Additional Sessions Court as the special court for speedy trial in the case.
On December 14, 2019, a charge sheet was filed and the trial commenced on December 23. Arguments were completed on January 20 and the case was subsequently posted for judgment.
As many 25 witnesses were produced by the prosecution that had been demanding capital punishment on the lines of death penalty awarded to the accused in the Nirbhaya gang rape murder case in Delhi.
Earlier in December, the woman's family and different organisations had staged protests and demanded an "encounter" death for the three men like the four accused in the Hyderabad veterinarian's gang rape and murder case.
The four accused in the veterinarian case were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with police on the outskirts of Hyderabad on December 6, 2019.