Kathua rape-murder: I won't allow law to be obstructed, says Mehbooba

Kathua rape-murder: won't allow law to be obstructed, says Mehbooba

At a time when the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl has split Jammu and Kashmir along communal lines, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday asserted that her government will not allow law to be obstructed and justice will be delivered.

"The law will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions & statements of a group of people. Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on the fast track & justice will be delivered," Mehbooba tweeted.

Her assertions come in the backdrop of lawyers in Kathua trying to prevent the crime branch from filing a charge sheet in the case.

The Jammu Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association subsequently gave a strike call in Jammu against the state police crime branch, which is probing the case and transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"We called for a strike because the crime branch officers handling the case are from Kashmir, and they don't have a good track record. That is why we want a CBI inquiry," B S Salathia, president, Jammu Bar Association, told reporters on Wednesday.

The crime branch charge has said the mastermind of the gruesome rape instigated his juvenile nephew and six others to execute the ghastly act to drive out the nomadic Muslim community of Bakarwals from Hiranagar, Kathua.

The charge sheet also reveals that the victim was held captive in a temple, sedated and raped repeatedly.

The charge sheeted in the case include, Sanji Ram, his nephew, Sanji Ram's son Vishal Jangotra, a friend of the nephew, a police sub-inspector, a head constable and two special police officers.

The nephew was first identified as a juvenile although the charge sheet said a DNA test showed him to be 19-year-old.

While Kashmir-based parties, including the Opposition National Conference, have been demanding that the trial of the rape-and-murder case be shifted to a Valley court for a fair and speedy trial, the relatives of the accused, supported by lawyers and some politicians in Jammu, are fighting for handing over the case to the CBI.

Meanwhile, responding to attempts by some lawyers to obstruct the investigation and prosecution in the case, Amnesty International India in a statement said: "It is disgraceful that some lawyers and members of the BJP are trying to introduce religious prejudice into the investigation of this horrific crime, and block its investigation.

"The fact that the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court actually had to order police protection for the lawyer of the victim's parents shows how deep the bigotry around this case runs."

 

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