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'Dharun Ravi's sentence is balanced'

May 22, 2012 10:29 IST

The Indian American community and those in the mainstream reacted differently to the judge's 30-day sentencing Monday of former Rutgers University student, convicted on webcam spying of his roommate Tyler Clement's gay sexual encounters. Suman Mozumder reports

While Indian Americans were evidently happy that Ravi, now 20, got a light sentence, those batting for the prosecution, were far from jubilant.

"One 18-year-old kid (Tyler Clement) dies by committing suicide and the guy responsible for this gets one month of jail term! This is just a joke," one person who did not identify himself, told this correspondent in answer to a question.

Before he could be asked any further question he left the courtroom in a huff.

The prosecution, as well as Tyler's parents did not speak to the media while leaving the court after the sentencing was announced by Judge Glenn Berman. But if their body language was any indication, they were not happy either.

In fact, both his parents, who said earlier that they do not harbor any ill-feeling towards Ravi, but nonetheless would like him to take responsibility for his acts, looked upset after the sentencing was announced.

"This is a very good judgment. You are saying that Clement was 18-year-old. But he (Dharun) was also 18.  Give me a break. Do not treat him (Dharun) that being an Indian he is more intelligent and mature than Clement. Of course it was bad judgment, but both of them were kids at that time," said Dev Makkar, a community activist from New Jersey.

"I agree that Ravi made some mistake, but the judge has been balanced in his judgment," he added.

In response to a question, Brian D Levine, mayor of Franklin Township said that from the judge's perspective it was a good and balanced judgment, keeping in mind the requirements of law.

"I think he felt compulsed to impose some kind of custodial sentence. I guess it was the least he could impose. When the probation is completed, Dharun could go on with his life, hopefully a fulfilling one. He is a bright kid I am told, but he made a stupid mistake," the Mayor said.

"The Clements family has, obviously a hole in their hearts as any parents would have when they lose their child. I hope that the sentencing will allow both families to go on with their lives. But at least their daily nightmares are over, and hopefully they can now share their grief in private and within the confines of their home. I think that the verdict and sentence case sends a strong message to everyone in this country about the dangers of cyber crime," he added.
Suman Mozumder in New York