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Mahmood Farooqui Sentenced to Seven Years’ Imprisonment for Raping a US Research Scholar

By Asif Kalam

Mahmood Farooqui. Photo: Dastangoi: The Lost Art Form of Urdu Storytelling Facebook page.

UPDATE

Farooqui has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain, of a special fast track court. The Delhi police had sought the maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

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August 1, 2016

Mahmood Farooqui, co-director of the movie Peepli (Live), was convicted by a fast track court on Saturday for raping a US research scholar in March last year. Farooqui, also a historian and a theatre artist, was accompanied by his wife and friends in the courtroom when the judgement was pronounced.

In the chargesheet filed in June last year, the police booked Farooqui under IPC Section 376 (rape) and also Section 201 (destruction of evidence), which was subsequently dropped when the court framed charges.

The complainant, who is in her thirties, said that Farooqui raped her at his south Delhi house on March 28th, 2015, after she had gone there to meet him for help with her research. She informed the court that on the day she was raped, she had told the friend who had introduced her to Farooqui about the incident. The testimony of this common friend was key evidence cited by the prosecution, along with the several emails that Farooqui had later written to her in apology. Farooqui had denied the rape allegation in his deposition, and claimed that he was falsely implicated.

Vrinda Grover, the complainant’s counsel, told the Indian Express that this is one of the first cases dealing with forced oral sex, which is now deemed as rape under the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment (page 5). She said, “The amendment to the criminal law in 2013 introduced forced oral sex. This is perhaps one of the first cases of forced oral sex, which shows two things: that there was a crime for which we did not earlier have an offence named — now it has been recognised as rape. We’re also very happy to see that the court relied on very credible evidence that the woman gave,”

A chilling detail that emerged in the trial, was that the victim said she didn’t resist the rape because she was reminded of the violent murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the 2012 Delhi gangrape victim. Grover told the Indian Express that, “She has stated before this court, during the recording of the evidence, that she was reminded of the documentary of the Nirbhaya case, where the rapist had said that if the victim had not struggled, she would have survived. The accused (Farooqui) applied force and pushed her down. She then froze. She knew if she resisted the rape upon her, the consequence would be worse.”

Farooqui faces punishment ranging from a minimum of seven years’ rigorous imprisonment to imprisonment for life. The court will hear arguments on the sentence on August 2.

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