"They will kill us if they are freed. People in four villages are after our lives. We are only four people... everything is gone; our house, our entire property is gone," the child's mother told NDTV.
The girl's father has requested the Supreme Court to transfer the trial out of Jammu and Kashmir, citing a "backlash" and lack of security for his family. "We are apprehensive that the trial will not happen peacefully, seeing the condition in Jammu... seeing that lawyers opposed it in Kathua and did not let the chargesheet proceed," the family's lawyer told the top court.
The child's mother alleges that her family is being pressured by local politicians to agree to a probe by the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI). The family wants the Crime Branch of the state police to continue with investigations. The girl's mother alleges that politicians are pushing for a CBI probe "to save the accused."
"If the police had acted when we first filed a complaint, the child could have been saved but they sat on it for seven days," she told NDTV.
"Koi begunah nahin hain (no one is innocent)," the mother said - her voice choked with emotion - when told that Sanji Ram, the main accused in the case, had told the Supreme Court that he was innocent and was like a grandfather to the child. All eight accused have petitioned the court seeking a CBI probe to catch the "real culprits".
The Supreme Court on Monday will decide if the case should be moved out for fair trial; the girl's family has filed a petition seeking shifting of the trial to Chandigarh. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will deal with the prayer of the victim's father for shifting of trial to Chandigarh and plea of the accused seeking handing over the probe to CBI.
The family, belonging to the Bakerwal Muslim nomads alleged, they face extreme discrimination after the child was raped and murdered. "The local people don't even let us use the pastures on the village outskirts for grazing goats after the incident...they will come after us if they are freed," the mother said.
Before his arrest by the state crime branch, Sanji Ram had told NDTV that he would not allow grazing and fodder to Muslim nomads because there are Hindu shepherds who need this fodder.
"I am not allowing their goats into our area. We have our Hindu gaddis. They have been saying we will build mosque on your house. If CBI inquiry is ordered you will know who has done this," Sanji Ram had said.