Asifa Rape-Murder:Wave Of Condemnations Follow Kathua Lawyers Protest

Srinagar—The Congress and CPI(M) and other parties condemned the protest by some lawyers who attempted to prevent the police from filing charge sheet in the Kathua rape-and-murder case, while the NC demanded shifting the trial out of Kathua.

The parties alleged that yesterday’s incident was part of a well-thought-out conspiracy to polarise communities in the state by giving a criminal act a communal colour.

Lashing out at the lawyers for the incident, Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief G A Mir described it as “politically motivated, obnoxious and a conspiracy to achieve something out of this heinous crime for those hindering the process of justice”.

Yesterday, a senior police official had said the crime branch has filed a charge sheet against seven of the eight accused in the case, even as the Kathua bar association claimed the officials were compelled to leave the court premises without filing the charge sheet amid protest by local lawyers.

The Kathua bar association was demanding CBI probe into the case.

“The act of hindering the justice process amounts to endorsement of heinous crimes. This is unfortunate and brings a bad name to their profession,” Mir said.

CPI(M) State Secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik said some vested interests were trying to derive political mileage out of a brutal and inhuman act.

“It is a shameful act and against the human values on part of these lawyers and their political masters, who instead of helping the victim’s family to get justice, behaved like hooligans,” he said.

The CPI(M) leader said the gruesome rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl from the Bakherwal community, reminds us of the challenges confronting our society.

“A criminal is a criminal irrespective of his caste, colour and creed and must be dealt according to law. By evoking emotions and giving communal colour to rape-and-murder case, fringe elements are committing a heinous crime against humanity,” he said.

Today, the police filed a separate charge sheet against another accused, who was earlier said to be a juvenile. They have also filed an FIR against lawyers for protesting and attempting to prevent the crime branch officials carrying out their duty.

“The government must take stern action against the accused without showing any leniency to them,” Malik said.

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National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters in Srinagar that it is unheard of in the history of the country that white-collar professionals come out in support of those accused of a heinous crime.

“It is a part of a deep-rooted and well-thought-out conspiracy to polarise and communalise the state along religious and regional lines. We will be watching the situation and thwart any such designs,” he said.

“We demand the case be shifted out of Kathua to any other place where the trial can be held without any interference,” Sagar said, adding a fast-track court should be set up to ensure speedy justice to the victim.

Demanding strict action against those involved yesterday’s protest by lawyers, he lashed out at those who have called for a Jammu bandh tomorrow, and urged the people of Jammu to defeat the nefarious designs of fringe elements.

The body of the girl, from the Bakherwal community, was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.

Among the accused, former revenue official and the alleged conspirator, Sanji Ram (60), surrendered before the crime branch on March 20 after his son, Vishal, was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.

According to a senior crime branch officer, following a medical examination on March 7, the accused who was thought to be a juvenile, was found to be 19 years old.

Kashmir Lawyers Denounce Strike Called By Jammu Counterparts

Jammu and Kashmir High court Bar Association on Tuesday strongly denounces the strike Call given by the Jammu Bar Association and described it as an act of targeting the Muslim religious community of Jammu province and trying to deny the victim family of a fair and free trial of the case registered against those savage persons who have kidnapped, raped and murdered eight year old girl in a beastly manner.

“Bar Association feels that those people who believe in justice and fair play should have supported the investigation and trial of the case on fast track basis so that those who have committed this heinous crime are dealt with under law,” the lawyers’ body said. “It is however, unfortunate that some of the Bar members of the Jammu Bar Association, who apparently believe rule of law and are everyday pleading the cases of those who are denied justice by the State have joined their hands today and have raised an unreasonable and irrational demand of handing over the case to the CBI, which organization has already exposed itself while investigating the sex scandal and Shopian rape and murder cases.”

Instead of bringing the culprits to book, they have left no stone unturned to hush up the two cases, the KHCBA said .

“The Bar Association also feels that Rohingya Muslims are in Jammu only because they have been driven out of their home and hearth by brute State forces and once the conditions for their return would be conducive, they shall return to their home place. Their stay in Jammu is a temporary phase which should not be politicized at this stage.”

Moreover, the lawyers body said the Indian Supreme Court has also stayed their deportation and the matter being sub-judice, the demand raised by the Jammu Bar Association for their deportation is also unjustified and unwarranted.

The Bar Association requests all the members of Jammu Civil Society and other saner elements both inside and outside the Bar, to defeat the nefarious designs of communal elements and not to extend any kind of support to them as it will polarize the two communities beyond repairs. The lawyers’ body supported the elements which will support the rule of law in the State and will provide any assistance to victims wherever and whenever needed.

JCCI To Keep Away From Jammu Bandh Today

The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) Tuesday decided to keep away from the general strike on Wednesday called by the Jammu Bar Association (JBA) over various issues, including the deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu and handing over of the Kathua rape-and-murder case to the CBI.

“There is no justification for the strike called by the Jammu High Court Bar Association for tomorrow as both the issues are sub-judice. Hence, the JCCI does not support this call for the bandh,” JCCI president Rakesh Gupta said here.

The Jammu Bar had called for a general strike in Jammu region on April 11, claiming support from civil society, political parties and other bodies, including the JCCI.

“The issues raised by the association lacks justification to call for a strike We should have faith in our judiciary,” Gupta said.

The JCCI president said the Rohingya issue was being heard by the Supreme court while the crime branch investigation into the Rassana rape-and-murder case was being monitored by the high court.

Gupta said chamber is apolitical and was the first organisation which raised the issue of deportation of Rohingyas last year.

Stating that the strike call was based on the unilateral decision of the Bar, he advised the lawyers’ body to reconsider its decision and call off the strike.

He requested the Bar to not interfere in the business activities during its bandh tomorrow and said “the organisation will not tolerate such a thing”.

FIR Against Lawyers, Omar Welcomes

Welcoming lodging of FIR against lawyers who on Monday obstructed Crime Branch (CB) officials from filing a charge sheet in the Asifa rape and murder case in Kathua, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the lawyers who have no respect for law deserve to have the full weight of the law books crash down on them.

“Good. Lawyers who have no respect for the law deserve to have the full weight of the law books crash down on them,” omar who is the working president of National Conference (NC), tweeted.

 

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