Pathankot, June 10: A special court in Pathankot will today deliver its verdict in the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua. District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh will pronounce judgment against seven of the eight accused in the case. One accused pleaded that he is a juvenile. Security has been tightened up around the special court in view of the high-profile nature of the case.
The girl was abducted and taken to a village temple in Kathua district on January 10 last year, said the chargesheet. She was kept in captivity for four days. She was allegedly raped while being kept under sedation and later bludgeoned to death. Her mutilated body was found in a forested area on January 17. The heinous crime had triggered widespread outrage and condemnation across the country. Kathua Rape Case Activist Talib Hussain Joins PDP.
The trial, which had begun in April 2018 against seven accused out of eight, concluded on June 3 last week. The trial of a juvenile is yet to begin as the petition on his age is yet to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The Crime Branch took over the investigation. The probe suggested that the girl was raped and murdered allegedly by the accused in an effort to strike fear among nomads frequenting the Kathua area and drive them out.
The Crime Branch arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested by the Crime Branch.
On April 9, lawyers at the Kathua court prevented the Crime Branch from filing the chargesheet. The Supreme Court had then ordered that the trial be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the case was shifted to Pathankot. Two FIRs were filed in connection with this case. One against eight accused of allegedly being involved in the crime and another against lawyers for allegedly stopping the police from filing the chargesheet.