Attack on African student: 10 years for seven youths

Chandigarh, Oct 24 (IANS) A sessions court in Punjab's Jalandhar city Thursday sentenced seven youths to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment for a murderous assault on a young African student in April last year.

The seven, belonging to middle class families and including the son of a former Punjab police officer, attacked Yannick Nihangaza, a student from the East African nation of Burundi, and left him critically injured.

Yannick remained in coma for a few months before regaining consciousness.

He, however, continues to be bed-ridden in a private hospital in Patiala, 80 km from here. Doctors say Yannick suffered irreversible brain damage.

The attack took place when Yannick was going to a birthday party in Jalandhar, 160 km from here, April 21. He was attacked following an argument over a small matter outside a liquor shop.

The Punjab government had announced it would bear the expenses of Yannick's treatment and also the cost to airlift him to Burundi.

Yannick was pursuing a B.Sc. degree in computers at the Lovely Professional University near Jalandhar.

His father, who arrived in India April 29, after being told about his son's condition, shifted him to Patiala for treatment.

Yannick's plight came to light after his father wrote an emotional letter to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, seeking his help for medical treatment and requesting that Yannick gets justice.

While sanctioning a Rs.500,000 grant to Yannick's father, Badal promised to extend all possible assistance for his treatment.

The Jalandhar police arrested the youths involved in the assault after the media reported the incident.

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