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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

No conviction in sati cases in Rajathan

The Milli Gazette Online

Jaipur: All the 18 cases relating to glorification of sati in Rajasthan have been turned down by the court and the accused, including PWD minister Rajendar Singh Rathore had been acquitted. The women’s groups have been demanding an appeal, but the state government refuses to do so saying there is no need for an appeal.

These cases were registered after Roop Kanwar was forced to commit sati on the funeral pyer of her husband on September 4, 1987 in Deoral village of Sikar district. It took several years for the cases to reach the trial stage. The first of these cases was decided by the Special Court (Sati Prevention) in Jaipur on June 7, 2004 and all the accused were acquitted as the prosecution failed to prove its case. Later, the prosecution lost 17 other cases, as most of the witnesses had turned hostile.

It may be recalled that Thoi police in Sikar distric had lodged the main case in the Deorala sati incident and chargesheeted 38 people for forcing Roop Kanwar to commit sati. Rajathan’s law minister Ghanshyam Tiwari told since the judgement and relevant papers had been examined by advocate general there was no need for an appeal. Senior lawyer Vimal Choudhary of Rajathan High Court said that these were fit cases for appeal. "Did the government take action against government witnesses who turned hostile?" he asked.

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