SC or­ders se­cu­rity to vic­tim kin, puts J&K on no­tice on trial shift

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Ri­tika Jain ri­tika.jain@dnain­

New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked the Jammu and Kash­mir gov­ern­ment on Mon­day to pro­vide po­lice pro­tec­tion to the fam­ily mem­bers of the Kathua rape and mur­der vic­tim and the coun­sels rep­re­sent­ing and help­ing them. The court also is­sued no­tice to the state on a pe­ti­tion filed by the vic­tim’s fa­ther that says the at­mos­phere in Jammu is highly po­larised for a fair trial and the ac­cused must be tried in Chandi­garh.

The court had said on Fri­day that ac­cess to jus­tice can­not be ob­structed, af­ter lo­cal lawyers tried to stop fil­ing of the chargesheet in the case last week.

Se­nior lawyer Indira Jais­ing, ap­pear­ing for the vic­tim’s fa­ther, told a Bench led by Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra that the state po­lice had done a good job in car­ry­ing out a sci­en­tific in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ar­rest­ing all the eight ac­cused. “All ac­cused have been foren­si­cally and phys­i­cally iden­ti­fied. This is the kind of in­ves­ti­ga­tion that they want to de­rail,” Jais­ing said.

That Bench that also com­prised Jus­tices AM Khan­wilkar and DY Chan­drachud dis­missed a sep­a­rate plea that sought to trans­fer the case to the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion for an in­de­pen­dent probe. “If there was an is­sue with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion agency, we could con­sider trans­fer­ring the case, but that is not the case here,” CJI Misra said.

“We will only hear the plea with re­spect to vic­tim pro­tec­tion and fair trial. Let us not go into other ar­eas,” the court said. It will hear the mat­ter next on April 27.

Lawyer Deepika Singh Ra­jawat told the court that she had been threat­ened with rape and death for tak­ing up the case.

The girl was ab­ducted on Jan­uary 10 in Jammu’s Kathua and killed four days later. Her crum­pled body was re­cov­ered on Jan­uary 17. Anger and shock have swept the coun­try as de­tails emerged last week of how the child was kid­napped, drugged, raped and bru­tally killed in cap­tiv­ity.

A re­tired gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, his son, his ju­ve­nile nephew, the nephew’s friend and four po­lice­men have been ar­rested so far the hor­rific crimes. Their trial be­gan at the District and Ses­sions Court in Jammu’s Kathua on Mon­day.

Full re­port on dnain­

Deepika Singh Ra­jawat, lawyer of Kathua vic­tim’s kin — REUTERS

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