AIZAWL: Justice for Zothansanga may finally be near three years after the 25-year-old man was allegedly sexually assaulted by Zodinliana Sailo, grandson of two-time former state chief minister T Sailo. The alleged accused surrendered before Mizoram police on Thursday morning.

Sailo allegedly sodomised the 25-year-old man on September 7, 2018. He and another co-accused, R Lalhruaitluanga, were arrested after a complaint was filed on September 28, but both managed to secure bail.

The former Mizoram chief minister’s grandson surrendered before police in Aizawl on Thursday morning.

Following public outcry and media attention, Aizawl’s additional district and sessions judge HTC Lalrinchhana issued arrest warrants on Wednesday against Sailo and Lalhruaitluanga. But when police went to arrest Sailo, he allegedly evaded arrest and surrendered before police around 2 am on Thursday.

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As Lalhruaitluanga tested positive for COVID-19, sources said, police have currently kept him in isolation at his home.

THE CASE

As per an FIR by the victim’s mother, the incident happened on the intervening night of September 7 and 8, 2018, at Zarkawt in Aizawl when two groups — one led by the accused Zodinliana Sailo – had a showdown at a karaoke bar named Lyrics Karaoke Lounge. Zodinliana was celebrating his bachelor’s party with his friends. When the police arrived, the victim said he didn’t want to file an FIR as it was a minor incident.

As per the victim’s mother, the accused then took photos of his naked body and said, “We will keep you in the body bag and take it somewhere no one will know, as we have done many times in the past.” After sexually assaulting him for more than an hour, during which the accused forced the victim to indulge in a number of sexual acts, they returned his clothes and let him off.

Also Read | Mizoram: Almost 3 months on, justice still eludes Zothansanga

Family members of Zodinliana Sailo had denied the allegations, also alleging that the FIR filed by the victim’s family did not include any charges of sexual assault or sexual abuse.

THE ONLINE PETITION

An online petition, which was started in 2018, was re-circulated via Twitter and other social media platforms in September this year, demanding ‘Justice of Zothansanga’.

The petition stated that there were no satisfactory reports, investigation, proceedings or action taken regarding the reported atrocity committed on Zothansanga on September 7, 2018. Petitioners feared that people had forgotten about the case and authorities had taken advantage of the same, sweeping the issue under the rug.

“It is in the interest of the people that the voices of those who had been trampled upon be heard, empathised, consoled, and reciprocated with justice,” reads the petition on change.org.

The petition was started by someone by the name of Alkaianti Nom-de-plume and was an appeal to District Court (Aizawl District Court), Balaji Srivastava IPS, DGP, Joseph Lalchhuana Deputy Inspector General of Police, Lalbiakthanga Khiangte IPS DIG (NR), Aizawl, Sh. Zosangliana MPSSP CID (Crime), Sh. C. Lalzahngoa MPSSP Aizawl District, Smt. A. Mathumma IASDeputy Commissioner, Aizawl, Sh. Neihchungnunga IPSDIG (CID) and Justice H.L. DattuChairperson, NHRC. It has been signed by over 76,000 thousand people.

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“We do not wish that our strive for justice be muffled by lack of compliance, incompetence, influence, or bias. We do not wish for mob justice, but justice served in the confines of the law,” the petition read further with petitioners loud and clear about their yearning for justice in the case.

“Equal rights between rich and poor, I want zothansanga to have the right to Justice and give the criminal the way to his punishment he deserves,” says Febbi Hmar, a petitioner who signed the petition.

“Justice needs to be served, whether it’s against the richest or the most influential. No one should be denied their right to justice,” says another petitioner Leon Guite.

“I detest such a cruel deed as this whole-heartedly! Let justice reign our lives,” wrote another supporter Jerome Sailo.

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