Pathankot, June 10: A special court in Pathankot on Monday convicted six of the eight accused, including mastermind Sanji Ram, 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 found village head Sanji Ram, Parvesh Kumar, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta guilty.
Sanji Ram's son Vishal was reportedly acquitted by the court. Arguments on the quantum of punishment will be heard at 2 pm today. Reacting on the verdict, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: "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." Kathua Rape Case Activist Talib Hussain Joins PDP.
The girl was abducted and taken to a village temple in Kathua district on January 10 last year, the police said in its 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 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. A probe, conducted by the Crime Branch, 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.