New Delhi, April 16: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Jammu & Kashmir government, seeking response to the plea filed by the Kathua victim's father demanding the transfer of case to Chandigarh from Jammu.
The petitioner claimed the pressure exerted by the Jammu Bar Association, along with local politicians, is vitiating the judicial process. In order to conclude the trail in a "free and fair manner", the case should be transferred out of Jammu, the petition noted.
The bench also ordered the state government to provide escalated security cover to the lawyer and family of the deceased eight-year-old girl. The SC order came a day after the victim's lawyer Deepika S Rajawat claimed threat to her life. "I can be raped or murdered any day. I have been warned that I 'won't be forgiven'," she said while speaking to ANI on Sunday.
Kathua alleged rape and murder case: Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising, appearing for the victim's father, told the Supreme Court, 'the atmosphere is not conducive for a fair trial. The atmosphere is highly polarised.'
— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2018
The victim's father was represented in the apex court by veteran advocate Indira Jaising, who urged the bench to order the transfer of case outside Jammu. The court, however, refrained from issuing any interim ruling in this regard, saying it would wait for the response of the J&K government.
The Jammu Bar Association, which has charged the state government of "deliberately targeting the local Hindus", has warned of an unprecedented uprising if the accused are prosecuted.
The SIT formed by the J&K government has arrested eight men for the ghastly crime committed against the minor, including two special police officers of the Kathua range.
As per the chargesheet prepared by the SIT, the victim was abducted in January and kept in 'Devisthan', the local temple, where she was drugged and raped for eight days before being bludgeoned to death.
The victim's counsel expressed confidence over the investigation conducted by the SIT. "The state police has done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons, but arrested them on the basis of scientific evidence," Indira Jaising said.