Mumbai: A man was sentenced to three years in prison by a special court here for sexually assaulting a minor girl on a crowded local train. The 16-year-old victim, a Marathi serial actor, told the court that on the day of the incident in 2019, she was travelling by train with a friend from Goregaon to Thane following a shoot.
At the time, the girl was in Class 12 and used to travel to Goregaon for her work in the Marathi serial. She used to take the local train to go to work and return.
At the Dadar Railway Station, when the girl changed trains at around 8.30 pm, the accused, standing behind her in the general compartment, first put his hand on her shoulder and sexually assaulted her, when she turned to look at him angrily.
The girl yelled and slapped the man
The girl yelled and slapped the man, but because it was a fast local train, she and her friend could only get off at Mulund. They turned over the accused to the railway police, who brought them all back to the Dadar Railway Station and filed the FIR.
Omhari Singh, 32, of Thane, strongly denied the allegations, even disputing that the girl got into the general compartment because there are separate coaches for women.
On the other hand, Special Judge PP Bankar reasoned, "Although there are separate coaches for women in trains, women's entry on a general coach is not restricted or prohibited, and they can travel on a general coach just like any other passenger. Aside from that, it is a prosecution case that the victim was travelling with a male friend at the relevant time. If they had to travel together, the victim was forced to travel in a general coach with her male companion."
She had no way of seeing the accused
The accused claimed that because the train was crowded and the perpetrator was standing behind the victim, she had no way of seeing the accused. As a result, the accused has been misidentified.
However, the judge reasoned that the victim had turned and looked at the accused while he kept his hand on her shoulder. "It is sufficient to identify him. Aside from that, the following incident is crucial. The victim and her friend apprehended the accused on the train," "said the judge appointed to hear cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
The accused stated that he has a wife and two children to care for
Regarding the three-year sentence, the accused stated that he has a wife and two children to care for, works as a labourer, and has no criminal history. However, according to the judge, "The incident occurred in a densely populated area. The incident has had a severe negative impact on the victim girl, her family members, and society. Such incidents are alarming people and demonstrate that girls are not safe in society, even when they are surrounded by many people."