Kathua rape and murder: HC to hear plea again on April 9

Jammu—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday posted for further consideration on April 9 a plea regarding gruesome rape and murder of 8-year-old Kathua girl in January this year.

A lawyer said that the proceedings pertained to the status report filed by crime branch about investi­gation into the incident last week. The case has now been posted further consideration on April 9.

Crime Branch on Tuesday ruled out any pressure in ar­resting the ‘mastermind’ be­hind the gruesome rape and murder of the 8-year-old Kath­ua girl, underlining that the law will take its own course.

Inspector General of Police Crime Branch Syed Afadul Mujtaba said that the mastermind will be arrested “as and when in­vestigation deems so.”

“He will be arrested. It is for the investigation agency to arrest, not to arrest,” the officer said.

The investigations have revealed that it was not a random crime but a part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua. The Crime Branch has also identified the master­mind, Sanji Ram, who it said has been bent upon to dislodge the nomad community from Rasana Village.

“The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon dislodging the Bakar­wal community and in order to execute the nefarious de­sign, he hatched conspiracy with (others),” the SIT sub­mitted in a status report sub­mitted before the high court last week.

Asifa Bano had been miss­ing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests, and her body was found on January 17.

The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that an SIT under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case and a medical report of the murdered girl was expected within a couple of days.

On January 20, the gov­ernment transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, or­dering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on Janu­ary 23, handed the case over

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