Minorities

Judgement in Kathua gang-rape and murder case on June 10

A court in Pathankot in Punjab will deliver its verdict in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case. The gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl inside a Hindu temple in Jammu had sent shock-waves across the globe.

What had ‘brought more shame’ to India globally was the way two BJP ministers had taken part in a protest to defend the rapists and murderers of the little girl.

The rape was seen as a targeted attack on the nomadic muslim community in the Kathua region of Jammu. BJP ministers and many in the civil society rallied in favour of the rapists with India’s flag in their hands.

In July, the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch had filed a supplementary charge sheet in the rape and murder of the girl from a minority nomadic community in Kathua before a court in Pathankot.

Senior Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police (Crime Branch) R K Jalla, accompanied by Special Public Prosecutor J K Chopra and other lawyers, submitted the charge sheet before District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh.

The chargesheet also includes medical opinion about the effect of sedatives on the victim as well as the location of Vishal, son of Sanji Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the abduction and killing in January this year.

Vishal however, claimed that he never visited Kathua.

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Ram, his son Vishal and his juvenile nephew, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias ‘Dipu’ and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu have been arrested by the Crime Branch. All of them were named in the first charge sheet on April 9.

Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence has also been arrested and dismissed from service.

The investigation underway alleges that Kumar was not only in constant touch with co-accused Khajuria but also in contact with Raj, who is believed to have played a role in striking a deal between Ram and the police for destruction of evidence.

Kumar’s detailed call analysis has also been submitted by the chargesheet to show he shared a common location with other accused on crucial dates of crime and immediately thereafter.

The duration of the calls made and their frequency increased after the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl, leading to the “irresistible conclusion of knee deep involvement of accused Surinder Kumar with other accused…”, the charge sheet stated.

An analysis of the two bank accounts of Ram, custodian of the temple where the child was allegedly confined, was also conducted, revealing that he had made cash withdrawals.

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Witness statements recorded by the Crime Branch confirmed the accused had undertaken no constructional activity and had no social obligation either, the document says.

The Crime Branch alleged in its charge sheet that the withdrawals were made to bribe the police officers for destruction of evidence.

Earlier, the Crime Branch informed the Supreme Court that it would be submitting a supplementary charge sheet in the case. The apex court had given them eight weeks to file it.

In Pathankot, the district and sessions court framed charges of rape and murder against the seven accused in the case.

 

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