Kathua Verdict: 6 Of The 7 Accused Convicted
A special court in Pathankot today convicted six of the seven accused in the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl of Bakarwal nomadic tribe in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in 2018.
The accused include Sanjhi Ram, his son Vishal, Parvesh, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta.
Welcome the judgement. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment https://t.co/jBuRUdGa5h
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 10, 2019
Three accused including Sanjhi Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh have been held guilty under section 302 (murder), 376D (Gang-rape) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The other three accused Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma have been found guilty under section 201 (destruction of evidence) of the RPC.
Only Sanjhi Ram’s son, Vishal, has been acquitted. Vishal’s plea of alibi was accepted by the judge, that when the incident took place, he was writing an exam in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.
The Kathua Rape Case
The gruesome incident took place in January when a girl from the Bakarwal community disappeared when she was out grazing ponies. Her body was recovered on January 11 from a wooded part of Rasana village.
Tests were conducted on her, found that she was alive for three or four days after her missing. She was kept in a large prayer room. Her body was found almost 200 metres from the prayer room.
The investigation found that the arrested accused and his relative conspired to abduct the girl and kill her to get the Bakarwals to leave the village.
Sources said that around 200 Bakarwals had bought land from local residents to build houses. Two days after the body was discovered, the police arrested a boy and said that he was a juvenile. According to the information given by the police, the accused confessed to the abduction of the girl and said that she was forcibly given drugs, and was raped and killed when she resisted.
The incident polarised the region and made a communal divide in Kathua. The victim was a Muslim and the arrested police officers were Hindus. A group called Hindu Ekta Manch was set up and demanded a CBI Enquiry. This group was supported by BJP leaders and had a cross-party membership, said reports.
Bakarwal is a Sunni-Muslim nomadic tribe. Most of them are goatherds and shepherds. They are found in the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan and in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan. According to the community, they are often victims of huge discrimination.