Vachathi atrocity: HC upholds conviction of over 200 persons, directs compensation for rape victims

The Madras High Court on Friday upheld a lower court order convicting and sentencing 215 persons, including Forest and Police personnel for atrocities on tribals, including sexual assault of women, during a raid for smuggled sandalwood in Tamil Nadu’s Vachathi village.

The HC dismissed the appeals filed against the order of a lower court in Dharmapuri which held the 215 men guilty. It had sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 1 to 10 years.

On Friday, Justice P Velmurugan also directed providing an immediate compensation of Rs 10 lakh to 18 women, who were victims of sexual assault during the infamous incident in Dharmapuri that sent shockwaves across the state. Of this amount, the court directed recovering Rs five lakh from those accused of rape, the counsel for the victims said.

The Dharmapuri court had held as guilty 126 forest personnel, including four IFS officers, 84 men from police and five from the revenue department in connection with the 1992 incident which was probed by the CBI later.

Out of the 269 accused, 54 died during the pendency of the trial.

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