A 60-year-old ex-bureaucrat, accused in gang-rape and murder of eight-year-old Ashifa Bano, surrendered on Tuesday, hours after the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested his son in the same case.
Sanji Ram allegedly wanted to strike fear among the child’s nomadic community and drive the tribe out of Kathua. His surrender took place just hours after his son was arrested from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district.
Jammu and Kashmir Police said that with Ram’s arrest, all the accused had been arrested in the 8-year-old child’s gang-rape and murder case.
The 8-year-old child was kidnapped, raped and killed in January when she was taking her horses for feeding water in Rasana village in Hiranagar.
Members of a militant Hindutva outfit, Hindu Ekta Manch, had staged a protest in defence of the arrested Special Police Officer Deepak Khujaria, who too was arrested in the same case. Ironically, the Hindutva outfit’s agitation in support of a rapist was being led by a BJP leader. The news of the child’s rape by Deepak and gang had sent shock-waves across the world. The matter had also dominated the budget sessions of the assembly, where the opposition leaders alleged that police was trying to save the culprit.
The Crime Branch have already arrested a sub inspector, head constable, two Special Police Officers, Ram and his son.
In a similar case, a Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court last month had handed four death sentences to a man, who raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl, Zainab, in January. In India, however, there’s no indication when the perpetrators of little Ashifa’s rape and murder will face the punishment.