SRINAGAR Dr. Tejwinder Singh, District and Sessions Judge Pathankot, who convicted six of the seven accused in Kathua rape and murder case, started the verdict with couplet of Mirza Ghalib borrowed from Supreme Court judgment of Budhadev Karmaskar which was penned by former SC judge Markandey Katju.
“Pinha tha daam-e-sakht qareeb aashiyan ke Udhne na paaye the ki giraftaar hum hue. The judge, Tejwinder Singh, begins his judgment by saying that this couplet applies ‘squarely to the facts of the present case which literally means that near the nest of a bird there was a hard net (placed by hunter) and the young chick was caught in it before it could take its first flight.’
Given the circumstances, the ‘Sword of Damocles’ was hanging over the head of the accused, the judge further adds, ‘the perpetrators of this crime have acted in such a manner as if there is a ‘law of the jungle’ prevalent in the society.’
In the present case, facts are many but truth is one that under a criminal conspiracy, an innocent eight years old minor girl has been kidnapped, wrongfully confined, drugged, raped and ultimately murdered. The perpetrators of this crime have acted in such a manner as if there is a ‘tow of the jungle prevalent in the society, the court said, adding, It has to be adjudicated in the present trial to find out the persons who were ‘partners in crime’ so committed against the minor girl child.
Among the evidences that the court relies on is a strand of the eight-year-old’s hair that was recovered from the temple, whose chief priest Sanji Ram was convicted and awarded life sentence. It rubbishes the defence’s claim that the girl could not have been confined in the temple and raped given that Lohri was being celebrated there, as the defence did not find any evidence to support their claim.
The court says it was proven categorically that Deepak Khajuria, Pravesh Kumar and Sanji Ram (along with Sanji Ram’s nephew who has claimed to be a juvenile and whose appeal is being heard separately by J&K high court) ‘entered into a criminal conspiracy with each other’ to kidnap, drug, rape and murder the girl and went on to commit these acts.
Sanji Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra is acquitted by the court which accepts testimonies from several witnesses that establish that he was present in Meenapur, Muzaffarnagar, UP, appearing for his examinations at the time when the crime was being committed.