Kathua rape case: Lawyers protest against filing of charge-sheets, call bandh

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12 April, 2018

An 18-page chargesheet was filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch on Monday against 8 accused in the gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu's Kathua region.

On April 9 Kathua bar association lawyers held protest demonstration over the presentation of the charge sheet by the crime branch in the rape case in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Just six days later, on January 17, the child's body was recovered from the Rassana forest. After few hours, she realized that one of her family's pony is missing. Khajuria was unsuccessful in killing her, the juvenile killed her by pressing his knees against her back while strangulating the girl by applying force on both the ends of her chunni.

"...the accused Mannu, Vishal and juvenile took the victim from the Devasthan to a nearby culvert... accused Khajuria told the juvenile to wait as he wanted to rape the girl before she is killed, " the charge sheet says. Few strands of hair were found in the hall of the temple, which on analysis by Delhi-based forensic science laboratory have found a match with the victim, as per the reports by various publications.

The Wire had earlier reported that the police had first arrested a minor boy for his involvement in the crime. A week later, her body was found in woods near her village. The charge sheet includes seven accused people, including a police sub-inspector, a head constable, two special police officers, a retired revenue official and his son. Dutta and Raj were arrested for trying to destroy evidence.

Lawyers and other people staged a strong protest outside the court premises when the Crime Branch officials arrived to file the charge-sheet at Kathua.

Newsclick contacted lawyers from both the parties to investigate the reality on the ground. In the support of culprits, they were demanding a CBI probe for the case. "The centre is in their influence and they want to vanish all the evidence".

Congress criticised the lawyers and blamed them for giving the communal colour to gruesome crime for polarising the communities in the state. Wani was earlier accused of custodial rape and death, but later the charges on him were dropped.

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Ram organised a rally under the banner of "Hindu Ekta Manch", a right-wing group, after the policemen were arrested.

He told that the Bar is already on strike against the investigation of the case by the Crime Branch which strongly favors a CBI inquiry into the occurrence and the incident.

"The Special Investigation Team is corrupt". The crime branch team has officers from Kashmir who don't have a good track record. "Think, how the investigation is going on", added Ankur.

The Jammu Bar Association, on the other hand, alleged that minority Dogras of Jammu and Kashmir in Hiranagar were being "targeted" in the probe by the crime branch and called for a "Jammu Bandh" Thursday. "Have you removed Lal Singh and Ganga from the Cabinet for supporting a rape a murder accused yet btw?" tweeted Junaid Azim Mattu, state spokesman of National Conference. Many national dailies have carried advertisements calling for the "eviction" of Rohingyas.

NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said, "Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti promised a free and fair trial on the floor of the House and said that the guilty will not be spared". It has further stated that animal rearing is their profession and they are required to transport their animals from one place to another during seasonal migration. "We will protest till these demands are not met", Sharma said, adding nearly all the areas where the Bar called for a bandh had been successful.

One rapist came all the way from Meerut Kathua rape-murder mastermind Sanji Ram had been "motivating" members of the Hindu community of the area to not provide Bakarwals land for grazing.


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