Kathua rape case: SC to hear victim father’s plea seeking to shift trial


NATIONAL | April 16, 2018: 

The Supreme Court on Monday fixed an urgent hearing on the petition of the father of the eight-year-old girl, who was gang-raped and murdered in Jammu district, requesting the transfer of the trial in the case from Kathua to Chandigarh.

The top court will hear the petition of the girl's father at 2pm.

The father moved the Supreme Court on Monday alleging the circumstance in Kathua are not conducive to a free and fair trial and that it needs to be shifted.

"Even at the time of filing of the charge sheet in the instant case, the crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir police faced severe resistance from local lawyers who prevented them from filing the documents before the court on April 10, thereby not only hindering the police officials from carrying on their duties but also rendering the entire judicial machinery nugatory," the petition said.

The petition filed by advocate Sunil Fernandes also seeks protection for local lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, who is representing the girl's family.

It also appeals for the strengthening of the security cover at the juvenile home that houses the minor accused and to prevent unauthorised individuals from meeting them.

"Kathua Bar Association and Jammu Bar Association have been repeatedly holding agitations and rallies against the crime branch and the lawyers representing the petitioner herein by taking rounds on the back of trucks, carrying the Tricolour and bamboo sticks, and shouting slogans in favour of the accused persons," the petition said apprising the court of the situation in Kathua.

Eight, including a juvenile, have been accused of holding the girl in captivity for a week inside 'Devisthan', a small temple in Rasana village about 90km from Kathua, sedating her and sexually assaulting her repeatedly before killing her in January.

According to the charge sheets filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakarwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.

It lists Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the 'Devisthan', as the main conspirator behind the crime. Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram's nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias "Shamma".

The charge sheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.

All of the eight accused are under arrest.

Source: The Hindustan Times

Featured image: Kashmir Glory