Author – Neha Agarwal (Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan)
District and Sessions Court, Pathankot on dated 10th May 2019 convicted six of the eight accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua. The seventh accused was acquitted for the want of evidence. Further fate of the eighth accused, is yet to be decided by the Juvenile Court.
In the instant case, eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on dated 10th January, 2018, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.
The Crime Branch had arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, Ram’s juvenile nephew and his friend Parvesh Kumar, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
The District and Sessions judge framed charges under the Ranbir Penal Code(RPC), including Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang-rape) against seven out of eight accused.
The court also framed charges of destruction of evidence and causing hurt by poisoning under Section 328 of the RPC. The two policemen – Raj and Datta – were also charged under Section 161 (Public servant taking illegal gratification) of the RPC.
According to the 15-page charge sheet, the abduction, rape and killing of the eight year old child was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, it said.
The District and Session Court headed by Tejwinder Singh has convicted all the other six accused. Barring Vishal, the Court accepted his plea of alibi that he was taking an exam in UP’s Muzaffarnagar on the date of the incident. And The trial against the eight accused(juvenile) is yet to begin as his petition on determining his age is to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
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