‘Pro­tect Kathua rape vic­tim’s kin, lawyer’

SC gives stern or­der to J&K govt


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court di­rected the Jammu and Kash­mir gov­ern­ment on Mon­day to pro­vide se­cu­rity to the fam­ily of the eightyear-old Kathua gan­grape and mur­der vic­tim, their lawyer and a fam­ily friend as­sist­ing them in pros­e­cut­ing the case. The apex court also took note of a plea of the vic­tim’s fa­ther seek­ing trans­fer of the trial of the case from Kathua, prefer­ably to Chandi­garh and sought re­sponse of the state gov­ern­ment.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, the vic­tim’s fa­ther ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the probe so far, con­ducted by Jammu and Kash­mir Po­lice and op­posed the plea for CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­manded by oth­ers. “Be that as it may, we do not in­tend to enter into this sphere (trans­fer of case to CBI) at this stage,” a bench com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra and jus­tices A M Khan­wilkar and D Y Chan­drachud said, while tak­ing note of the sub­mis­sion that the vic­tim’s fa­ther was sat­is­fied with the po­lice probe so far.

The bench also took note of the ap­pre­hen­sion with re­gard to the se­cu­rity and asked the state to pro­vide ad­e­quate se­cu­rity per­son­nel, in plain clothes to the vic­tim’s fam­ily, their lawyer Deepika Singh Ra­jawat and fam­ily friend Talid Hus­sain.

“As an in­terim mea­sure, it is di­rected that the Jammu and Kash­mir Po­lice to beef up the se­cu­rity and pro­vide ad­e­quate se­cu­rity per­son­nel to the fam­ily, Deepika Singh Ra­jawat and fam­ily friend Talid Hus­sain,” the bench said.

It also sought re­sponse of the state gov­ern­ment by April 27, the next date of hear­ing, to the spe­cific prayer that the trial in the case be trans­ferred out of Kathua court to Chandi­garh in view of the com­mu­nally sur­charged at­mos­phere pre­vail­ing in Jammu town.

The vic­tim’s lawyer Deepika Singh Ra­jawat on Mon­day stated that she is be­ing la­belled an ‘anti-hindu’ and fac­ing so­cial boy­cott for tak­ing up the case. “I can be raped, I can be killed and may be they won’t al­low me to prac­tice in court.”

KATHUA (J&K): The eight peo­ple ac­cused of rap­ing and killing an eight-year-old pleaded not guilty and asked the judge for a narco anal­y­sis test as the trial into the case, which has be­come the fo­cal point of out­rage across In­dia, be­gan on Mon­day.

Seven of the eight ac­cused were pro­duced be­fore District and Ses­sions Judge San­jay Gupta, who asked the Jammu & Kash­mir crime branch to give them copies of the chargesheet and fixed April 28 as the next date of hear­ing.

The eighth ac­cused is a ju­ve­nile who moved a bail ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the chief ju­di­cial mag­is­trate. The mat­ter was posted for April 26.

The child from a mi­nor­ity no­madic com­mu­nity was al­legedly held in cap­tiv­ity in a small vil­lage tem­ple in Kathua district of the north­ern In­dian state of Jammu & Kash­mir for a week in Jan­uary this year dur­ing which she was kept se­dated and sex­u­ally as­saulted be­fore be­ing blud­geoned to death.

Ac­cord­ing to the chargesheets filed by the Crime Branch, the ab­duc­tion, rape and killing of the girl was part of a care­fully planned strat­egy to re­move the no­madic com­mu­nity from the area. A sep­a­rate chargesheet was filed for the ju­ve­nile.

The coun­sel for the ac­cused de­manded a copy of the chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch on April 9 be­fore the chief ju­di­cial mag­is­trate.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the brief hear­ing in the ses­sions court, the seven ac­cused were shifted back to the jail under heavy se­cu­rity. Spe­cial po­lice of­fi­cer Deepak Kha­juria, who is al­leged to have re­peat­edly raped the child, told re­porters from the po­lice van that he was also de­mand­ing a a narco test, also known as the "truth test", and a CBI probe.

As the trial be­gan in­side the court, main ac­cused Sanji Ram's daugh­ter Madhu Sharma protested out­side, de­mand­ing a CBI probe.

There was heavy po­lice pres­ence at the Kathua com­plex fol­low­ing the ten­sion on April 9 when mem­bers of the lo­cal bar as­so­ci­a­tion did not al­low the Crime Branch to sub­mit its chargesheet in the case.

Sanji Ram, the care­taker of the 'de­visthan' in a vil­lage in Kathua, about 90 km from Jammu, is listed as the main con­spir­a­tor be­hind the crime.

He was al­legedly joined by spe­cial po­lice of­fi­cers Deepak Kha­juria and Suren­der Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram's nephew, a ju­ve­nile, and his son Vishal Jan­go­tra alias "Shamma".

The chargesheet also names in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers head con­sta­ble Ti­lak Raj and Subin­spec­tor Anand Dutta, who al­legedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and de­stroyed cru­cial ev­i­dence.

The is­sue of pro­vid­ing the ac­cused copies of the "chal­lan", or the chargesheet, was raised be­fore the judge by the lawyers, Ankush Sharma, who is plead­ing the case for Sanji Ram, his son and oth­ers, told re­porters.

He said the chargesheet was pre­sented in court on April 9 but copies had not yet been pro­vided.

Ram told the judge that they wanted narco tests and were ready for them.

The judge asked the ac­cused whether they had been given copies of the chargesheet, which runs into 400 pages, added A K Sawah­ney, who is rep­re­sent­ing head con­sta­ble Ti­lak Raj. He told re­porters that Jammu and Kash­mir Chief Min­is­ter Mehbooba Mufti had been talk­ing about a fast track trial but copies of the chargesheet had still not been pro­vided to them.

In a narco anal­y­sis test, the sub­ject is in­jected with sodium pen­tothal or sodium amy­tal. The dose is de­pen­dent on the per­son's sex, age, health and phys­i­cal con­di­tion.

It does not have any le­gal sanc­tity as ev­i­dence un­til a court gives per­mis­sion to con­duct these tests. The test only helps as cor­rob­o­ra­tive and not as pri­mary ev­i­dence, say le­gal ex­perts.

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