Wahid Bhat |SRINAGAR
The Pathankot District Court today convicted six of the seven accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.
Charges of rape and murder were framed against seven of the eight accused in the case, with one of them pleading that he is a juvenile. The accused, if convicted, would face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum of death penalty.
The case was handed over to the Crime Branch, following which a police sub-inspector and a head constable were arrested for destroying evidence. The main accused, retired revenue officer Sanji Ram, surrendered on March 20.
All the accused, barring the juvenile, were shifted to Gurdaspur jail on the orders of the top court.
Besides Sanji Ram, the others arrested in the case are his son Vishal, a “juvenile” nephew, his friend Anand Dutta and two special police officers identified as Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. The policemen accused of destroying evidence are Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta.
Investigations conducted by the Crime Branch suggested that the girl was raped and murdered allegedly by the accused in an effort to strike fear among nomads frequenting the Kathua area and drive them out.
The case involved the abduction, rape and murder of an eight-year-old child in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir back in January 2018.
The verdict was passed by District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh, who had reserved judgment on June 3.
On January 17, 2018, the dead body of the victim was found in Kathua by the police, days after her father had reported her missing. The girl was drugged and raped over several days before she was strangulated to death.
The criminal investigation culminated with the arrest of seven persons.They were charged with rape, kidnapping, attempt to destroy evidence, and criminal conspiracy under Jammu & Kashmir’s Ranbir Penal Code. The arrested men included a Hindu temple priest, his son, his nephew, as well as four policemen.
The case assumed communal undertones after a narrative emerged that the crime had been committed in a an attempt to drive out the Muslim nomadic community to child belonged to. Further controversy erupted after several sections of the public came out in open support of the accused, decrying their arrest as an attempt to victimise Hindus.
The lawyers appearing for the victim’s family, including Advocate Deepika Rajawat, had also approached the Supreme Court contending that they were being threatened against appearing in the matter by the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association.
The trial in the case initially commenced at Kathua in April last year. However, the volatile circumstances surrounding the case eventually prompted the Supreme Court to transfer the trial outside Jammu & Kashmir to the District and Sessions Court of Pathankot, Punjab.
The prosecution was represented by Special Public Prosecutor SS Bhasra and Public Prosecutor JC Chopra, among others. The accused were represented by Advocates Anil Sethi, Subhash Chander Sharma, AK Sawhney, HS Pathania, and others.
3 get life term, five year jail for three others
Three main accused in the gangrape-and-murder of an eight-year-old nomad girl from Kathua were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court here, lawyers said.
Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, have been convicted under Ranbir Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention. the lawyers said. Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra is the only one to have been acquitted.
Minutes after the Pathankot Court convicted six people in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in January last year, former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah welcomed the court’s judgment.
PDP chief Mufti tweeted, “Welcome the judgement. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wrote that the guilty deserved the “most severe punishment.”
“Amen to that. The guilty deserve the most severe punishment possible under law. And to those politicians who defended the accused, vilified the victim & threatened the legal system no words of condemnation are enough,” he tweeted.
Kathua rape case verdict: Six held guilty, 1 acquitted; sentencing at 2 pm
Faesal tweeted, “Congratulations to @JmuKmrPolice for getting Rasana Kathua rapists convicted. Politicians tried their best to sabotage the movement for justice to A. But the Honble Court and the law enforcement agencies stood their ground. Also, not to forget the role of activists and media.”
The eight-year-old nomadic girl in Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, and was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.
All you need to know about Kathua Rape case
As the heinous rape and murder of an eight-year-old continues to haunt the nation, the eight men who have been charge-sheeted for committing the offence reveal an act, sinister like none.
These men are accused in the gang-rape and murder of a nomad girl. The prime motive behind the offence is being alleged to drive out the nomadic community of Bakerwals out of the Rassana area of Kathua. List of accused in the Kathua rape case:
Sanji Ram, 60 years:
Ram is a retired revenue official. He is alleged to be the main conspirator who incited his nephew, an alleged minor, to abduct the eight-year-old girl as revenge from the Bakerwals. The purpose was achieved by reminding the boy of an insult mete out by the nomadic community to the minor boy.
The minor was the one who arranged to keep the eight-year-old locked up inside the temple where she was abducted and raped.
Sanji Ram’s nephew, 15 years:
The minor boy, as mentioned, was incited to commit the rape and conduct the abduction as a revenge on the Bakerwal community. Ram’s nephew had raped, strangulated and smashed the girl’s face with a stone post her gang-rape.
Parvesh Kumar, alias Mannu:
Kumar is a friend of Ram’s nephew and is known to have played a critical role in the abduction and gang-rape by helping the minor.
Jangotra is Sanji Ram’s son who is currently studying in Meerut. He is accused to have raped the girl along with Ramji’s minor nephew. The nephew had called Jangotra to the temple in case he wanted to ‘satisfy his lust’.
A special police officer who allegedly raped the eight-year-old ‘one more time before she was killed’.