PATHANKOT The district and sessions court here on Thursday framed charges against seven of the eight accused of raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, officials said. The eighth accused in the case is a juvenile.
The trial in the case began on May 31 with the seven accused being produced before the district and sessions judge after after the Supreme Court shifted the hearing outside Jammu and Kashmir.
The case was transferred by the Supreme Court from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab for a fair trial following a plea by the victim’s family.
While transferring the case from Kathua to Pathankot, about 30 km away, the apex court directed day-to-day in-camera trial in the case.
According to the 15-page charge sheet of the Jammu and Kashmir’s Crime Branch, the girl from a minority nomadic community, who was kidnapped on January 10 this year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district. She was kept sedated for four days before being bludgeoned to death.
The Crime Branch had submitted a charge sheet in the case on April 9 before the Kathua court.
The case came into the limelight after lawyers of the Kathua bar association reportedly tried to prevent the police from submitting the documents.
According to the 15-page charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 this year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district. She was kept sedated for four days before being bludgeoned to death.
The abduction, rape and killing of the child was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, it said.
It named eight persons, including temple custodian and alleged mastermind Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias ‘Deepu’ and Surender Verma, and a juvenile.
The others arrested in the case are the juvenile’s friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu as well as head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta.
The case became a bone of contention between the state government’s alliance partners PDP and BJP. The saffron party had to sack two of its ministers- Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga- for participating in a rally of the ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ in support of the accused
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