A Kolkata court on Friday awarded a 10-year jail term to three convicts in the 2012 Park Street gang-rape case. A Rs 1 lakh fine has also been imposed on each of them.
The quantum was announced a day after a Kolkata Sessions court found the three people guilty of the gang rape of Suzette Katrina Jordan in February 2012. Two of the main accused are still absconding.
Suzette, a single mother of two girls, activist and campaigner was gang-raped on Park Street, after she came out of a night club. The quantum of sentence will be announced by the court on Friday.
After her police complaint and revelations to the media, what followed was a war of words between her and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who called it a conspiracy.
Mamata Banerjee had dismissed the case as a "sajano ghotona" which translates to fabricated/staged incident.
In June 2013, Suzette revealed her identity, and told the media that she did not want to be identified as the ‘Park Street victim’. On March 13 this year, Suzette Jordan succumbed to meningoencephalitis. The 40-year-old was a loving mother, a doting friend, a strong woman who refused to bow down to the adversities in life.
A moving essay written by Suzette's daughter that was published soon after her death brought out a side of Suzette which perhaps not many outside her family knew of. Titled "My Mother, Suzette Jordan", the blog was first published on The Ladies Finger website, which states that a version of the essay had initially been written for a school assignment shortly before Suzette's death.
In what now seems like a fitting tribute to her mother Suzette, Rhea Jordan, a student who lives in Kolkata, writes about her "mama"- "the only person I dreamed to be like".
"She had her bad days, never completed her education, she had drink, she had smoke, she would sometimes get into my clothes too, she had 21 tattoos and a whole lot of scars from mutilation, she was a rebel, she never had a permanent job. But my mother was one of a kind. She taught me to believe in myself," Rhea writes.
She goes on to say, "Suzette Katrina Jordan was my Mama’s name. She had her own perspective, her own logic as to how life should be lived. She was incontestably stubborn and unbelievably broad-minded. She believed in being real, like the beauty of waking up at noon and looking ugly from the smeared makeup..."
"Mama taught me to stay humble, ‘No matter how much money, pride or ego we have, all our coffins are made the same size,’ she adds.
Rhea concludes her piece by asking, "When I grow up I want to be like my Mother, be REAL. Would you dare to? What do you have to lose?"
Her father, Peter Jordan, wrote this letter to dead daughter.
This is aggravating – all these long letters and one sided too! But then how else am I supposed to communicate with you?
You are not here, my mind is simply bursting with all these thoughts, images, conversations and emotions. So strong, so very, very strong.
I need to talk to you: it’s been some time since the last bit of conversation. Remember?
“You come dada”?
“Yes my baby I am here, rest my baby doll, don’t talk, sleep, I love you, I’m here”
What sleep babe? Such a deep sleep that you didn’t wake up again.
You seemed really happy these last few months , I say 'seemed' because I saw flashes of pensiveness and doubt cross your face, what was it babe ?
Was it the case? Was it worrying you?
You knew all about the case didn’t you? You yourself told me that it was in and I quote you, “a good space” and that you would finally be vindicated. So what was it? The delay?
Babe we could not have hurried it up. It was not in our hands. There were more than 50 witnesses and each testimony had to be tested and then re-tested. Every bit of evidence, every statement, yes my baby everything involved with your case had to be examined and cross examined.
Then there were five people in all but we had only three people in the dock. The other two, the main accused Kadir and his friend and co-accused Ali are still absconding. Yes, my daughter I use the word 'absconding', because in spite of all the hype we still aren’t sure whether the search/hunt for them is still on.
So all in all, these are the reasons that I would assume, why the case – even though it’s in fast track court – has dragged on. This is the system, my baby. The state has given us one of its best, if not the best, public prosecutor. The Kolkata Police has left no stone unturned in their endeavour to see you get justice, so my dearest daughter you should have no doubts. No doubts at all, as to the outcome of this case.
The sadness and suddenness of your passing has all but shattered us and all who know you. Bengal has commiserated at your plight. Even the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) came to express his condolences and then there was the Anglo-Indian MLA Mr Shane Calvert.
Yes, my baby, someone from the higher echelons of the Anglo-Indian community did turn up. At last.
All and all it was a fabulous sending off party we gave you. Pity I could not see you dance again. You were always dancing.
The girls Rhea and Jade are walking around in a stupor right now. But they are young, very soon they will be contemplating how best they can use to their advantage, the sudden freedom they are experiencing, but for now they are truly and absolutely heartbroken .
How does one console them? Tell them you’re finally at peace and that you are in a better place now? Are you? Truly?
Wasn’t it ironic that I, who had always expressed my ideas on how sad it was for a parent to bury his child, was also called upon to perform this horrible task? This was definitely the saddest and most terrible job I had ever been required to do. It tore me apart. Your final resting place, they called it.
Final, that’s it. Never to see you alive, talking, laughing, dancing or just sitting quietly, by yourself.
Is this it for us and you? Are the prayers, thoughts, feelings and these letters, all that are left?
I suppose these too will stop, sooner rather than later. Life does go on.
You will become a distant and hazy memory for most, but for me and the girls, your mother, brother and sister, nana and Alex. My darling child, you will always be part of us. And, it for this very reason that you will forever be in our hearts and minds.
I Love you very much Suzie,
PS: Baby, the day you left us, the 13th of March, nana’s birthday, there was another horrendous incident. The Convent of Jesus and Mary at Ranaghat was broken into by some people who ransacked it, robbed it of large sums of money and then proceeded to rape the 72 years old Mother Superior. Baby, she was 72 years old, can you imagine the pain and humiliation she had to suffer?
People had lots and lots to say about you, blaming you as though it was your attitude and behaviour that got you raped. What was her fault? She had dedicated her whole life to serving God and the poor. And yet, these people had no qualms whatsoever – according to some reports, they were singing, feasting and playing games while perpetrating this heinous crime.
It makes me wonder: Isn’t anyone safe these days, babe? What are we waiting for? Our mothers, sisters and daughters to be defiled before we wake up?
Is there no one we can turn to anymore? Are we even doing enough?