Four-and-a-half years after the murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes, a Mumbai court has held all four accused in the case guilty, a verdict that brings some amount of closure to the case.
The judge also announced the quantum of punishment for the convicts, sentencing them to life imprisonment until death. The men were charged for murder and harassment, among other provisions. This means that they will be in jail for the remainder of their lives.
Reacting to the verdict, lawyer Asha Singh said, “We welcome all four convictions. We hope the quantum of punishment is not less than death penalty or life imprisonment.”
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that the prosecution examined over 30 witnesses in the case. “We had asked for life imprisonment till death, and the court has accepted our case.” Nikam said that the prosecution did not ask for the death penalty.
The father of Keenan, Valerian Santos said that he was very happy with the verdict. “We had asked for life imprisonment till death,” he said and hoped that it would send out a message to other ‘termites of society’.
On 20 October, 2011, Keenan and Reuben had visited a restaurant in Amboli with their friends. When they stepped out of the restaurant, a group of drunk men started harassing the girls in their group. Keenan and Reuben jumped to their defence. After the duo objected to the men harassing their friends, they were stabbed repeatedly. While Keenan died on the same day, Reuben succumbed to his injuries 10 days later.
The accused were found to have links with politician Nitish Rane, Narayan Rane’s son.
The murders came as a shock in Mumbai, as they took place in a busy area. According to a female member of the group, many eyewitnesses were present, but nobody came forward to help. Priyanka kept calling the cops as Keenan and Reuben battled for their lives, but no one answered her calls.
As mentioned in this article, the murders had become a rallying point for a fight against sexual harassment.
Originally posted here: