By Tenzin Dharpo
Deceased Tsultrim Chokden in an undated photo. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 1: Over two years after the gruesome murder of a Tibetan youth here in McLeod Ganj town, Dharamshala, the local District and Session Court today delivered the final verdict to sentence three Indian youths to life imprisonment. Pockets of social media reacted with a flurry of sentimental reactions by Tibetans, essentially on two fronts; closure of an unfortunate incident with justice being delivered and also a reinforced belief in the Indian judicial system.
Justice Sharad Kumar Lagwal who presided over the case pronounced the judgment to sentence Kailash Kumar, Mahesh Kumar and Rinku Kumar to life imprisonment and fine of 50,000 INR each, under section 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal code, in the case of State Vs Kailash Kumar & others.
On the night of Oct. 30, 2015, a Tibetan youth Tsultrim Chokden was murdered on a McLeod Ganj street after an incident of eve teasing went awry. The 29-year-old Tibetan youth who came from Tibet and was living as a refugee bled to death on the spot after being stabbed multiple times.
Following the court proceeding and its ensuing paraphernalia, the judgement comes as a welcome closure on the incident that many feared could turn communal here in the virtual capital of the exile Tibetan diaspora. The case in retrospect had the intricacy of being linked to social and communal sentiments and at the same time, simplicity of a ‘whodunit’ mystery where everyone knew from day one, who the perpetrators were.
The accused were sent for 14 days judicial custody 9 times before the matter actually got enlisted before the District and Session Court, there were in total 34 court hearings, 2 bail pleas rejected and a verdict this afternoon.
The courtroom attendance reflected that the case outstretched beyond the life of a Tibetan youth and became an unlikely apparatus to gauge the Indian justice system when it concerned a refugee. Representatives from Student for Free Tibet, Tibetan Women Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, Ghu Chu Sum, Chu Shi Gang Druk and National Democratic Party (NDPT) as well as Dharamshala Tibetan settlement officer Dawa Rinchen and Tibetan MP Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar were present when the verdict was announced today.
“My faith in our Indian judicial system is restored yet again today with judgment of the honourable Justice Sh. Sharad Kumar Lagwal. I can now imagine that the family of the deceased in Tibet must finally experience a sigh of relief and feel justice served for their son,” Tibetan MP Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar wrote in a facebook post.