Shameful act of lawyers in Kathua, prevent crime branch from filing charge-sheet in 8-year-old girl’s gang rape and murder

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In an utterly shameful development, lawyers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on Monday stopped the crime branch from filing the charge-sheet into the gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old child.

After hours of persuasion and reinforcement being called for, the crime branch officials were finally able to present the charge-sheet in Kathua’s Chief Judicial Magistrate. The charge-sheet is filed against seven people, who are accused of raping and murdering an eight-year old ‘Bakerwal’ (Nomadic) girl.

“The seven accused are 60-year-old Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj, civilian Parvesh Kumar and Sanji’s minor son Vishala,” police was quoted by IANS.

The charge-sheet against the juvenile was separately presented.

After encountering the protest against the filing of charge-sheet, the crime branch officials then had to wait for six hours inside the court as the CJM Kathua refused to accept the charge-sheet. Jammu and Kashmir law minister, Abdul Haq, himself a lawyer, had to intervene before the judge finally agreed to accept the charge-sheet.

As if these two incidents did not cause enough shame to the independence of judiciary, the Kathua Bar Association then issued an equally deplorable advisory calling for a bandh on 12 April in protest against the probe being conducted by the crime branch and the filing of charge-sheet.

The wordings of the appeal made by Kathua Bar Association (read above) are extraordinary since never in the history of independent India, did a group of lawyers and a judge take an open stance against state law enforcing agencies’ decision to probe rape and murder case. Monday’s developments have raised several questions on the impartial conduct of the judiciary in Kathua.

The body of the Bakherwal girl was recovered from Rassana forest in Kathua district on 17 January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

BJP, which is an alliance partner in the state government, was condemned after its leaders were seen joining the protesters staging a march against the arrest of a local police officer for his alleged role in the gang-rape and murder of the child.

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