The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the Kathua rape and murder victim. Hearing a plea filed by the victim’s father, the court also directed the state government to grant security to the lawyer of the victim’s father who has expressed fear that she may be “raped and murdered” for arguing for the infant’s family.
Besides, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also issued a notice to the state government on the victim’s father plea seeking order be passed to transfer the case outside the state. The court granted the state government time till April 27 to file its response. The notice was issued after senior lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing on behalf of the victim’s father, told the court that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is not fit for a fair trial. “The atmosphere is not conducive to a fair trial. The atmosphere is highly polarised,” she said.
The lawyer added that the state police had done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on a scientific basis. The victim’s father had moved the court seeking transfer of the trail outside the court, preferably to Chandigarh.
Deepika S Rajawat, counsel of the victim’s father, told reporters that the Supreme Court has issued directions to the authorities to provide protection to the girl’s family and their counsel.
The Supreme Court has issued directions to the authorities to provide protection to us (victim family and their counsel): Deepika S Rajawat, Counsel, #Kathua victim’s family pic.twitter.com/HP4pV3uB5u
— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2018
Meanwhile, the trial in the case began today at the Kathua Sessions Court. All the eight arrested accused including a juvenile were produced before Kathua CJM AS Langeh. The court directed that copies of the chargesheet be given to all the accused and fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing. All the accused were taken to the court amid heightened security.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Sanji Ram, the alleged mastermind of the crime, demanded that narco tests be conducted to ascertain the truth. Ankur Sharma, representing the accused in the court also said that his clients are ready for narco tests. Meanwhile, Sanji Ram’s daughter reiterated the demand that the probe be handed over to the CBI.
Meanwhile, a group of lawyers outside the Supreme Court today protested against the conduct of lawyers in Jammu and Kathua. The lawyers in the border state had held demonstration against the arrest of accused persons in the case and passed a resolution that they will not attend the court. Lawyers had even tried to obstruct the police from filing the chargesheet.
An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped on January 10 and held captive inside a temple in Rasana village of Kathua district. As per the chargesheet filed by the police in the case, the minor was drugged and raped repeatedly before being murdered. Her body was recovered on January 17 in the forest area.