Rape and murder of minor: J&K crime branches files charge sheet

Rape and murder of minor: J&K crime branches files charge sheet

Jammu and Kashmir police's crime branch on Monday filed charge sheet against seven accused in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa of Kathua district in the state.

"We have filed charge sheet against seven accused while the charges against a juvenile will be field separately,"  Afadul Mujtaba, Inspector General Police (IGP) Crime, told reporters.

The charge sheet has been filed a few days after the DNA test confirmed that the victim was held captive inside a temple before being strangulated after rape.

Sources said while the police team was approaching the court to file the charge sheet, some lawyers tried to stop them, leading to a law and order problem.

The IGP confirmed that there was some resistance which "was tackled" by the police.

Omar reacts

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while commenting on the issue reprimanded the lawyers who tried to prevent the police from filing the charge sheet.

"Shame on them & their political masters. An 8-year-old girl is raped & murdered and these so-called lawyers do not want to see justice delivered (sic)," he tweeted.

"Lawyers in #Kathua Jammu tried to stop the J&K Police Crime Branch from filing a charge sheet in the case of the rape & murder of an 8 yr old girl but some "news" channels are happier reporting outside a Chola bhatura shop," Omar added.

The rape and murder of Asifa, in January 2018, has assumed a communal colour in the highly polarised Jammu and Kashmir regions.

Asifa's disfigured body was recovered seven days later on the outskirts of Rasana village on January 17, a week after her abduction.

After widespread protests, with the Opposition parties and civil society accusing the authorities of not making efforts to find her after her abduction, police formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the incident.

The SIT arrested seven people, including policemen, and a juvenile after it got evidence about their alleged involvement in the case.

Communal colour

The arrest soon assumed a communal colour. The BJP MLA of the area Deepak Sharma visited Rassana and held deliberations only with the people of one community.

The activists of 'Hindu Ekta Manch', a fringe right-wing group connected to the BJP, took out a protest rally, with the National Flag, in Hiranagar on February 16, in support of the alleged rapists and murderers.

The 'Hindu Ekta Manch' is headed by state BJP secretary Vijay Sharma.

Mehbooba's tweet

First to react to the rally was Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

She took to Twitter to express her anger against the protest rally.

"Appalled by the marches & protests in defence of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our National Flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration. The accused has been arrested & the law will follow its course (sic)," she said.

The PDP's alliance partner in the state, the BJP hit back at the chief minister, saying she is trying to politicise and communalise the matter.

"Mehbooba called him a rapist even though it wasn't proven. She is trying to politicise and communalise the issue. They want to further deepen the animosity between the two communities in the region," Sharma said.

Separatist leaders in Kashmir have warned of an agitation if the "victimisation" of Jammu Muslims is not stopped.

"This rally was led by BJP leader (state secretary) which is actually a glaring proof of the fascist mindset of the ruling class in India and Jammu Kashmir," they said in a statement.

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