FIR against lawyers for blocking chargesheet in Kathua rape and murder case

Kashmir Lawyers protest in Srinagar. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Kashmir Lawyers protest in Srinagar. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

A PTI report said the eight-year-old girl had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest.

The following day, Jangotra arrived from Meerut 6 am, and less than three hours later, the "juvenile again went to the devasthan and administered three sedative tablets to the girl while she was unconscious with empty stomach". The issue took a communal turn after the main accused Sanji Ram's association with a Hindu-wing group came to the light. The chargesheet names Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple in Rassana village in Kathua, as the mastermind behind the abduction, rape and killing. Sanji Ram is the custodian of the temple where the girl was allegedly held in captivity.

Initial investigations by the crime branch, which took over the case on January 22, revealed that the crime was committed to strike fear among nomads and drive them out of Kathua. "All the members of the Bar condemn the conduct of the Crime Branch in dealing with the issue", the statement said. "Have you removed Lal Singh and Ganga from the Cabinet for supporting a rape a murder accused yet btw?" tweeted Junaid Azim Mattu, state spokesman of National Conference.

Police registered an FIR against the Kathua lawyers even as the Jammu High Court Bar Association called for a Jammu Bandh on Wednesday to put pressure on the government to hand over the case to the CBI. "The case should be shifted from Kathua for a fair and speedy trial".

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However, the incident took a odd turn later when large number of people of Kathua took to the streets, waving the national flag and demanding unconditional release of the main accused Deepak Khajuria who is a Special Police Officer (SPO).

Lawyers protesting in Jammu. He called for a stern action against the lawyers who created ruckus in the court.

In the midst of the investigation into the gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua district, lawyers of the Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) undertook protests today, demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.

According to Indian Express, the 18-page chargesheet, which was finally filed at 9:30 pm on April 9, says that the girl - who went missing from near her house in Rasana village of the district on January 10 when she had taken the family's horses to a nearby pond to graze - was gangraped thrice inside a prayer hall following the performance of a "ritual".

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Eight people have been arrested in the case, including two special police officers, a police head constable, a sub inspector, and a juvenile.

A special team of the crime branch has made a case of conspiracy, kidnapping, wrongful confinement, gang rape, murder and destruction of evidence against eight accused, which include: a retired state government official, his son and a minor nephew, four police officials and a civilian. SPO Deepak Khajuria alias Depu, 28, was arrested after Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch found evidence about his alleged involvement in the case.

Separatist leader and Kashmir's chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Omar Farooq wrote on micro-blogging site "What a shame! that some lawyers in Jammu prevent police from filing a charge sheet in the heinous crime of rape and murder of an 8 year old girl child!" They also protested against deportation of Rohingya immigrants, leading to disruption of normal life across the region.

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