Kathua Rape and Murder: Lawyers called for Bandh, supporting accused

Arnold Nichols
April 12, 2018

Hours after Jammu and Kashmir Police registered a case against lawyers who tried to prevent Crime Branch officials from filing a chargesheet in the Kathua rape and murder case, former J&K chief minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that lawyers got emboldened by actions of two ministers in the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state and asked the government whether action will be taken against them.

Political parties also traded charges over the handling of the case and the issue acquired a communal hue due to the alleged association of the accused with a right-wing group.

Mohd. Yousuf S/o Sahib Din (Victim's father) has lodged a complaint in P/S Hiranagar on 12 January to the effect that his daughter is missing while she was grazing horses in the nearby forest.

The Wire had earlier reported that the police had first arrested a minor boy for his involvement in the crime.

"Whosoever has committed this crime must be punished, but there hasn't been a free and fair investigation".

The mastermind behind the rape and murder retired revenue official Sanji Ram, his son Vishal Jangotra, Ram's juvenile nephew, Rasana resident Parvesh Kumar, Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj have been arrested in the case. Sometime in mid-February, BJP leaders and members of the right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch carried out a protest march in support of special police officer (SPO) Deepak Khajuria, one of the accused in the case. Although the medicine as per the prescription was not available with Bitu, he gave him Epitril 0.05 mg instead of the medicine written on the prescription, " the chargesheet said. They were "assigned tasks separately and individually". He told them the girl may be at a relative's place. "They took her and kept her inside the Devasthan under the table over two plastic mats and then covered her", it said.

The chargesheet said the girl was once again gangraped and later killed by the juvenile. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses.

The next day, when her parents came to inquire about her whereabouts, they met Ram. "Thereafter, the juvenile also raped the girl".

"The agitation of the Bar proved successful and the Crime Branch was compelled to go back and the challan could not be presented in the court of chief judicial magistrate Kathua", he told.

By then, the search team - comprising Khajuria - was already looking for the eight-year-old girl. "In the course of investigation, it transpired that somewhere in the first week of January, accused Sanji Ram chose to put a plan to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rassana area, which had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and his nephew (juvenile) part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually", the chargesheet said. After she went missing, people from Bakarwal community protested against negligence by the local authorities.

"The victim fell unconscious and was raped by the juvenile (in the jungle)". Forensic tests have verified that she was brutalized for a week, before killing. He, along with Jangotra and Khajuria, raped the child repeatedly.

The body was kept inside the prayer hall as there was no vehicle to transport it.

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