Kathua Rape-Murder:Bar Dissatisfied But Hails ‘Slap’ To Communal Forces    


SRINAGAR — Kashmir High Court Bar Association on Monday expressed its dissatisfaction over the order of sentence passed by a Pathankot Court against three accused persons in gang-raping and killing of an eight year old Bakerwal girl at Rasana Kathua but hailed the court giving a “slap on the face of all those, who tries to communalize the crime.”

“The  accused persons having committed a dastardly act, therefore, they deserved a death penalty but the court has awarded them lenient punishment of life imprisonment, for no obvious reason,” the Kashmir lawyers’ body said. 

The court has also convicted other three accused persons who are police officials u/s 201 and 343 RPC and has sentenced them to five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 50000.

“Though, these three persons being part of the conspiracy and being police officials deserved the punishment of maximum punishment prescribed by Section 201 and 343 RPC. The Court has also acquitted Vishal Jangotra, the son of Sanji Ram, the mastermind, by giving him the benefit of doubt, “to which he was not entitled under law.” However, notwithstanding the “lenient punishment awarded to the accused persons, the judgment pronounced by the Pathankot Court is a slap on the face of all those, who try to communalize the crime and besides vilifying the victim, came out openly in support of the accused persons.” 

The verdict is also bound to prevent others from committing such like acts on hapless victims and will also work as a deterrent against those, who derive pleasure in committing such beastly acts, it said. 

The Bar Association also appreciates the steps taken by the Pathankot Court in completing the trial of the case within seventeen months, during the course of which it recorded the statement of 114 witnesses without availing a single holiday during the period and after hearing the arguments of the respective counsel, pronounced its verdict swiftly, so as to ensure justice to the victim family. 

Prosecution lawyers heckled by convicts’ kin 

Pathankot: Prosecution lawyers in the Kathua gangrape-and-murder case were heckled outside the court premises by the family members of the six men convicted on Monday for the ghastly crime. 

Harminder Singh and Bhupinder Singh, the lawyers for the Jammu and Kashmir CID who secured justice for the eight-year-old girl, faced visibly agitated kin of the accused who hurled abuses at them as they came out from the court of Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh. 

The Punjab police came to their rescue, pushing the crowd aside so that the lawyers could leave safely. 

After a trial lasting 367 days, the court sentenced to life imprisonment the three main accused while it awarded five years in jail to three others for destruction of evidence. 

The court complex was heavily fortified as the state police and its special units threw a strong security ring, anticipating incidents of violence and protests, which have been a regular feature in this sensitive case which took political colour. 

Relatives of the main accused Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the devsthanam (temple) where the crime took place, and special police officer Deepak Khajuria collapsed in the court complex as they heard the verdict. 

According to eyewitness accounts from inside the courtroom, where media was barred, Ram and Khajuria were visibly shaken after hearing the judgement. 

The crime branch of J-K Police had filed the chargesheet against eight persons, including a juvenile. 

According to the 15-page chargesheet filed in April last year, the girl was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, and was raped in captivity in a small village temple, exclusively manned by Ram, after having been kept sedated for four days. She was later bludgeoned to death. 

The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the District and Sessions court in Pathankot in the neighbouring state of Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua, after the Supreme Court ordered on May 7, 2018 that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir. 

The apex court order came after lawyers in Kathua prevented Crime Branch officials from filing a chargesheet in the sensational case. 

BJP must answer why its ministers backed accused: Owaisi

Hope victim’s family can ‘find justice’ in court verdict: Congress

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi Monday said the BJP should answer why its ministers in the previous Jammu and Kashmir government attended a rally in support of the accused in the Kathua case. 

“BJP needs to answer as to why their ministers came out in support of those accused,” he told reporters here. 

He claimed ministers belonging to the BJP (in the erstwhile BJP-PDP coalition) attended a rally in support of the accused. 

Replying to queries on the verdict in the case, he said “justice should be done whichever religion the accused belongs to.” 

He cited incidents of offences against girls and women at Indore, Gaya in Bihar and Gorakhpur and said justice should be done. 

According to him, his party had condemned such incidents whichever religion the accused belonged to. 

Six of the seven accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua were convicted by a court at Pathankot on Monday. 

The Congress welcomed the court verdict in the Kathua rape-and-murder case on Monday and hoped that the victim’s family would be able to “find justice” in it. 

“We welcome the High Court’s judgement in the Kathua rape & murder case (sic),” the Congress wrote on its Twitter handle, adding that it hoped that through the verdict, the girl’s family could “find justice.”  (With PTI Inputs )



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