Kathua Child's Family To Move Supreme Court For Trial Outside Jammu and Kashmir: 10 Points
The 8-year-old child was kidnapped from Kathua near Jammu while she was grazing horses in January. For a week, she was sedated, starved and gang-raped by a group that included police officers. Then she was murdered - her head was bashed with a stone to ensure that she was dead.
Protests are being held across the country to seek justice for the 8-year-old who was raped and killed.
Jammu: The family of the eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua has decided to request the Supreme Court to transfer the trial to another state. The murder of the child, who belonged to a nomadic Muslim community, outraged the country after details were exposed in a police chargesheet last week. It became heavily politicised and two BJP ministers from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's cabinet, who defended the accused, had to be shunted out. Citing that the local lawyers stopped the Crime Branch from filing the chargesheet at the Kathua district court, the family lawyers said they would ask for a transfer.
Here are the latest developments in this big story:
"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," a lawyer of the family said. "We request the Supreme Court to transfer this case to some other state," the lawyer added.
Protest marches were held in at least half-a-dozen cities across India, to seek justice for the rape cases in Kathua and Unnao. Candle-light marches will be held in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram and Goa.'
The Jammu Bar Association, whose members held rallies in support of the accused, say they are not satisfied with the police investigation. The lawyers have been on strike for 12 days demanding a CBI probe. The Supreme Court has issued notice to the lawyers' associations in the state. Manan Kumar Mishra, chairman of the Bar Council of India, said, "If any lawyer is found guilty, we have the rights to cancel their license for a lifetime".
Hitting out at the Congress, which has repeatedly demanded that the Prime Minister speak up on the issue, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said: "Two of our ministers went and spoke to local people... the ministers have resigned but we want to ask Rahul Gandhi. He goes on candle light marches, but why doesn't he act against his ministers there? Why the silence?"
On Friday, two BJP ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, who defended the men arrested for the rape and murder, handed in their resignations after being asked to do so by the party.
Industries Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga and Forest Minister Lal Singh had addressed a rally in support of the accused by a group called the Hindu Ekta Manch in March. While Chandra Prakash Ganga allegedly termed the arrest as "jungle raj", Lal Singh had said: "Why such a hullabaloo on the death of this one girl... many such girls have died here".
The BJP initially defended the men, with party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi saying they were "misled". But clearance for their resignation came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sharp statement condemning the rapes in Kathua and Uttar Pradesh's Unnao.
"I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice," PM Modi said at an event in Delhi yesterday.
The 8-year-old child was kidnapped while she was grazing horses on January 10. For a week, she was sedated, starved and gang-raped by a group that included police officers. Then she was murdered - her head was bashed with a stone to ensure that she was dead.
Eight men have been arrested for the crime. The police said the rape-murder was meant as a terror tactic to drive out the Bakerwal community from a Hindu-dominated area. The nomadic Bakarwals roam the area and there have been calls earlier from various groups to flush them out. The murder has now deepened the divide.