The family of an eight-year-old girl, who was gang-raped and murdered in Kathua in January last year, expressed satisfaction over the encounter killings in Hyderabad, saying at least the family of the victim will not have to face "nightmare" of lengthy trial.
The father of the Kathua victim, Mohammed Akhtar, told PTI over phone from his residence in Samba, 30 km from Jammu, that if these people had indulged in the heinous crime, "I feel justice has been done with the victim and her family".
They deserved death for what they have done and their end would at least relieve the veterinarian's family of the ordeal of the courts and lurking threat of the acquittal of the accused.
All four accused in the rape-and-murder of a 25-year-old woman veterinarian last month were killed by police on Friday morning. The incident took place around 6.30 am when the accused, lorry workers aged between 20 and 24, were taken to the scene of the crime near Hyderabad for a reconstruction of events as part of the investigation, a senior police official said.
Mohammed Akhtar said, "My daughter's case moved to a court in Pathankot (Punjab) on the direction of the Supreme Court and after a lengthy trial, one of the main accused was released while another, who is reported to be a juvenile, is still under trial (in Jammu). I am not sure whether he gets the punishment for his role in the crime."
He said everyday is a nightmare for the family of the victim and, therefore, the delivery of justice in such cases should be speedy and the punishment to the accused exemplary so that it works as a deterrent against anti-social and criminal elements.
"In my case, one of the main accused evaded punishment because of the lack of evidence. We have moved to the court against his acquittal," he said.
The family, which moves between Kashmir and Jammu in search of greener pastures during winter and summer, is presently living in Samba district of Jammu region.
Shortly after the court verdict in July, the girl's father had sought enhancement of the convicts' sentence to capital punishment and also challenged the acquittal of one accused.
The court had issued notices to the Jammu and Kashmir government and six men convicted in the case in response to a petition filed on July 10 before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Mohammad Yousuf, who adopted the girl and was the first to report her disappearance in January 2018, said, "I felt glad and relieved after coming to know about the killing of the four accused provided they are the real culprits.
"If they had done wrong, they deserved death...," Mr Yousuf, who along with his wife has returned to the Kathua village from where the girl went missing, said.
He said the family was expecting capital punishment for all the accused, especially the main culprits, in their case.
The district and sessions court at Pathankot had convicted six people in the case and sentenced Sanji Ram, the mastermind of the crime, Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and Parvesh Kumar, to life imprisonment.
The court had also ordered five year imprisonment for special police officer Surendra Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta. However, son of Sanji ram was set free for want of evidence.
The family of the victim have urged the Punjab and Haryana High Court for enhancement of punishment besides challenging the acquittal of the son.