The trials in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case begin on Monday against the eight accused, including a juvenile against whom a separate charge sheet was filed
The Kathua rape and murder case trial will begin in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, with the eight accused who allegedly held an eight-year-old girl captive in a small village temple in the state’s Kathua district for a week in January this year and sexually assaulted her before murdering her, standing in the dock. The Kathua rape case trials begin a day after protests were staged in various parts of the country by citizens outraged by the heinous crime and the other incidents of rape in Unnao and Surat. Among other places, protests were held at Delhi’s Parliament Street and at Carter Road in Mumbai’s Bandra area. Meanwhile, the Kathua rape victim’s father will move the Supreme Court today, seeking the transfer of the trial to Chandigarh from Kathua.
The accused in the Kathua case include a juvenile, against whom a separate charge sheet was filed. The juveline and the other accused will be facing separate trials. While seven of the accused perpetrators will be tried in the sessions court, the chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will hold the trial for the juvenile. The accused include four police officers and a retired government official.
After the Jammu Bar association and the Kathua Bar received a rap on the kuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13, as the apex court took a strong note of certain lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case, the Kathua trial is expected to be conducted smoothly. However, the Supreme Court’s actions in the matter and the Indian civil society’s demand for justice in the Kathua case have not eased the challenges faced by the lawyer of the victim’s family. The Kathua rape victim’s lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat on Sunday said that she feared for her life as she might get raped or murdered. She added that she had been called anti-Hindu and boycotted socially.
The charge sheets filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch state that the abduction, rape, and killing of the minor Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy aimed at forcing the minority nomadic community out of the area.
Meanwhile, as the Kathua trial is set to begin, a group of former civil servants on Sunday issued a strongly worded open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, holding him responsible “more than anyone else” for the “terrifying state of affairs” in the country. The letter asked Modi to check India’s “free fall into anarchy” by taking tough action against the alleged perpetrators of the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and the perpetrators of other hate crimes across the country. Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers — Chandra Prakash Ganga and Lal Singh — have resigned following accusations of attending a rally in support of the alleged culprits of the crime.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Kathua rape and murder case ahead of the trials that begin today:
1) Nirbhaya’s mother blames delay in justice for Kathua, Unnao: Asha Devi, the mother of Nirbhaya, the 23-year-old victim of the brutal 2012 Delhi gangrape case, said that crimes like the Unnao and Kathua rape cases were taking place as the slow pace of judicial system was not instilling any fear in the minds of the culprits. The brutal 2012 Delhi gangrape case, often called the Nirbhaya case, had shaken the nation’s conscience. However, little appears to have changed on the ground when it comes to preventing crimes against women and children in the country since then.
Nirbhaya’s mother said, “I feel very sad that we have progressed a lot as a society but our daughters are still not safe today. I demand rapists should be hanged.” Nirbhaya, who had been gangraped on a moving bus in the national capital on December 16, 2012, had succumbed in a Singapore hospital a fortnight later on December 29.
2) Kathua victim’s father to move SC to shift trial outside Kathua: The Kathua rape victim’s father will move the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking the transfer of the trial to Chandigarh from Kathua, reported the Times of India.
The grief-stricken family of the eight-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, had set off on their annual journey to the pasture lands deep in the hills of the state, with the hope that justice will be done in the case. The family, belonging to the Bakerwal community, quietly packed their bags, saddled their horses and set off on the arduous journey to the higher hills a few days ago, the police said.
3) Kathua rape case trial against eight accused begins today: The trials in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case begin on Monday against the eight accused, including a juvenile against whom a separate charge sheet was filed. As mandated under the law, Kathua’s chief judicial magistrate will be committing one of the charge sheets, which names seven people, to the sessions court for trial. However, the chief judicial magistrate will hold the juvenile’s trial as it is the designated court under the juvenile act.
Sikh special public prosecutors appointed for Kathua rape case trial to ensure ‘neutrality’: Two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, have been appointed by the Jammu and Kashmir government for the trial in the sensitive Kathua rape case. This move is being seen as an attempt to ensure “neutrality” in view of the Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
Click here to read → Kathua rape case