ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Making of a High Profile Rape Trial

The Shakti Mills trial of Mumbai, as the court cases relating to the two gang rapes in 2013 came to be known, led to the accused being sentenced to death. This is an account by the members of a survivor support project who supported the two young women at the centre of these cases. It offers insights into the prosecution's strategy, the police investigations and the grit and spirit of the two young women and their respective mothers, and how the survivor's socio-economic profile often dictates not only how she is treated but even the outcome of the case.

The gang rape of a 22-year-old in broad daylight in August 2013 tarnished Mumbai’s image as India’s safest city for women. The historic significance of this case was that it was the first “high profile” one after the amendment to the rape laws in April 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, following the brutal gang rape and murder in Delhi, on 16 December 2012.

The trial in the August gang rape in Mumbai is known as the “Shakti Mills rape trial” and constitutes trials of two different cases, connected by the scene of the crime. There were five accused in both the cases, one among them a minor in each case but not the same minor. The first case is popularly referred to as the case of the “photojournalist” (called Simran here), the second the case of the “telephone operator” (called Suman here), a misnomer given to a IX-Standard school dropout who had barely turned 19 at the time of the incident. Both are children of single mothers.

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