Trial in Kathua rape-murder case begins today

The trial in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case begins today .The case is filed against eight accused which include  a juvenile ,against whom a separate charge sheet was filed.The accused allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in confinement in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.

The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will commit one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law. The chief judicial magistrate will  hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act.

The Jammu and Kashmir government  appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case as a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.

The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Jammu Bar association and  the Kathua Bar received a rap on the knuckles  by the Supreme Court on April 13.

The Supreme Court initiated a case on its own record saying such impediment affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice.

According to the charge sheets filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.

It also lists the caretaker of ‘Devisthan’, a small temple, in a village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the crime.