Amid Hindu, Muslim Twist, Govt Likely To Appoint Sikh Prosecutors

Srinagar—As Hindu outfits, Jammu-based politicians and lawyers rally behind accused, police have sought the appointment of two Sikh officers as special prosecuting officers in the case involving gruesome rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa Banu at Kathua.

Indian Express reported that police wants Bhupinder Singh and Harminder Singh to represent the case. While Bhupinder Singh is Chief Prosecuting Officer in the J&K Police prosecution wing, Harminder Singh is Chief Prosecuting Officer, Samba.

Director General of Police S P Vaid has already written to the Principal Secretary Home department, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in this connection. “For me, they are police officers whose profession, and not religious identity, is important. In fact, the people who were opposing the Crime Branch investigation into the case were also trying to raise accusations against our team. I gave them the same answer.”

The Indian express reported that the police “want to have prosecuting officers from their own ranks” but from a “neutral faith” to avoid further communal division.

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.

The eight-year-old girl was raped by six men, who had held her in captivity in a temple in Kathua district for a week in January and was sexually assaulted once again before she was bludgeoned to death chargesheet in the case has revealed.

The abduction, rape and killing of the Bakherwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, reveals the 15-page chargesheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here Monday.

It lists the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple, in Rassana village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.

Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.

The chargesheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.

A separate chargesheet was filed on Tuesday on the role of the juvenile, who cannot be publicly named according to the law.

On January 11, six days before the child’s body was recovered from the Rassana forest on January 17, the juvenile phoned his cousin Jangotra and asked him to return from Meerut where he was studying if he wanted to “satisfy his lust”, the chargesheet stated.

The document lays bare the larger conspiracy to instil fear in the Bakerwal community and explains in chilling detail how it was carried out.



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