Kathua Rape-And-Murder: High Drama Unfolds As CB Charge Sheets 7 Accused

Srinagar—High drama unfolded outside the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Kathua on Monday after lawyers tried to prevent Crime Branch officials from filing a chargesheet into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomad girl.

Despite massive police presence, the bar association of Kathua district protested on the court premises.

The lawyers shouted slogans against the Crime Branch officials, telling them to go back.

The Bar Association has been supporting the Hindu Ekta Much, which is spearheading a protest against the Crime Branch. Sources said that the CJM accepted the charge sheet last on Monday evening.

IGP Syed Afadul Mujtaba said the crime branch of police charge sheeted seven accused persons and that charge sheet against a juvenile person will be field separately.

The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) has called for a general strike in support of various demands, including deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals from here.

The seven accused also include two Special Police Officials (SPOs) and a head constable. SPO Deepak Khajuria alias Depu, 28, was arrested after a special investigation team (SIT) of the Crime Branch found incriminating evidence, linking him to the crime.

Head constable Tilak Raj was arrested after he was found guilty of washing the blood and mud stained clothes of the victim in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Sani Ram, 60, a retired government employee, surrendered before police after his name figured in the list of suspects in the case. He had fled to Uttar Pradesh to evade arrest. Before his arrest, his son was also arrested for his involvement in the case.

The investigations had revealed that it was not a random crime but part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua. Sanji Ram has been bent upon to dislodge the nomad community from Rassana village, the probe said.

“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 before the high court.

The minor girl 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 a SIT, under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case.

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 to the Crime Branch.

PTI reported that Jammu Bar Association has been on strike since April 4 demanding, among others, handing over of the Kathua rape-and-murder case to CBI and clarity of the state government’s stance on tribal affairs.

Omar, Mirwaiz Castigate Lawyers  

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, chairman Hurriyat Conference(M)  and others on Monday reprimanded the lawyers for attempt to prevent the police from filing charge sheet into the rape-and-murder of eight year old girl Asifa Bano at a court in Kathua. “Shame on them & their political masters. An 8 year old girl is raped & murdered and these so called lawyers do not want to see justice delivered,” tweeted Omar Abdullah.

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference( M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq took to twitter and said: “What a shame! that some lawyers in Jammu prevent police from filing a charge sheet in the heinous crime of rape and murder of an 8 year old girl child! How low can one stoop to defend his prejudices and biases! What’s worse is that they are supposed to represent law and justice!

 “An 8-yr-old kidnapped, repeatedly raped, killed & mutilated by grown men, incl cops. Investigations complete,  but police they can’t file the chargesheet in court. Because mobs of Kathua lawyers block the courts in “protest.” Reflect on this shame and obscenity,” senior journalist  Shekhar gupta 

PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir also strongly condemned action of Lawyers in Kathua, terming it an unfortunate development. Mir said that Lawyer Community have a cardinal role in the society by upholding and maintaining the ethos and sanctity of state institutions. 

He said this interference of lawyers by hindering the Crime Branch to file the charge sheet comes as a setback to a civilised society where lawyers are expected to have a greater role in dispensation of justice.

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