Kathua rape-murder case: NC demands shifting of trial, others condemn protest by lawyers
Jammu/Srinagar: The Congress and CPI(M) condemned the protest by some lawyers who attempted to prevent the police from filing charge sheet in the Kathua rape-and-murder case, while the NC demanded shifting the trial out of Kathua.
The parties alleged that yesterday’s incident was part of a well-thought-out conspiracy to polarise communities in the state by giving a criminal act a communal colour.
Lashing out at the lawyers for the incident, Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief G A Mir described it as “politically motivated, obnoxious and a conspiracy to achieve something out of this heinous crime for those hindering the process of justice”.
Yesterday, a senior police official had said the crime branch has filed a charge sheet against seven of the eight accused in the case, even as the Kathua bar association claimed the officials were compelled to leave the court premises without filing the charge sheet amid protest by local lawyers.
The Kathua bar association was demanding CBI probe into the case.
“The act of hindering the justice process amounts to endorsement of heinous crimes. This is unfortunate and brings a bad name to their profession,” Mir said.
CPI(M) State Secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik said some vested interests were trying to derive political mileage out of a brutal and inhuman act.
“It is a shameful act and against the human values on part of these lawyers and their political masters, who instead of helping the victim’s family to get justice, behaved like hooligans,” he said.
The CPI(M) leader said the gruesome rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl from the Bakherwal community, reminds us of the challenges confronting our society.
“A criminal is a criminal irrespective of his caste, colour and creed and must be dealt according to law. By evoking emotions and giving communal colour to rape-and-murder case, fringe elements are committing a heinous crime against humanity,” he said.
Today, the police filed a separate charge sheet against another accused, who was earlier said to be a juvenile. They have also filed an FIR against lawyers for protesting and attempting to prevent the crime branch officials carrying out their duty.
“The government must take stern action against the accused without showing any leniency to them,” Malik said.
National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters in Srinagar that it is unheard of in the history of the country that white-collar professionals come out in support of those accused of a heinous crime.
“It is a part of a deep-rooted and well-thought-out conspiracy to polarise and communalise the state along religious and regional lines. We will be watching the situation and thwart any such designs,” he said.
“We demand the case be shifted out of Kathua to any other place where the trial can be held without any interference,” Sagar said, adding a fast-track court should be set up to ensure speedy justice to the victim.
Demanding strict action against those involved yesterday’s protest by lawyers, he lashed out at those who have called for a Jammu bandh tomorrow, and urged the people of Jammu to defeat the nefarious designs of fringe elements.
The body of the girl, from the Bakherwal community, was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.
Among the accused, former revenue official and the alleged conspirator, Sanji Ram (60), surrendered before the crime branch on March 20 after his son, Vishal, was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.
According to a senior crime branch officer, following a medical examination on March 7, the accused who was thought to be a juvenile, was found to be 19 years old.(PTI)