Soon after a special court in Pathankot today held six of the seven accused guilty in the rape and murder of eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua last year, political leaders including Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah welcomed the judgement. The seventh accused in the case, reportedly a juvenile, has been let off in the case.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said she was "relieved" after the Kathua verdict and sought harsh punishment for the accused. "Relieved about Kathua verdict. Credit goes to crime branch team lead by IGP Mujtaba, SSP Jala, Addl SP Naveed , Dep SP Shwetambri ,@DeepikaSRajawat & Talib for ensuring facts came to light despite hindrances. People all across too galvanised support & stood up for this child."
In another tweet, she wrote: "Welcome the judgement. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment."
The brutal rape and murder of eight-year-old in Kathua had sparked protests across the country last year. The girl, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was kidnapped and held captive at a village temple in Kathua. She was drugged, starved and repeatedly raped for days. She was strangled and her head was bashed in with a rock. One of the accused allegedly begged to rape her one last time before she was killed.
National Conference's Omar Abdullah also sought "severe punishment for the accused": "The guilty deserve the most severe punishment possible under law. And to those politicians who defended the accused, vilified the victim & threatened the legal system no words of condemnation are enough," he tweeted after the verdict.
Former government officer Sanji Ram, who was believed to be the mastermind, was among those convicted by a special fast-track court in Pathankot. His son, reportedly a juvenile, is the only one let off, over lack of evidence.
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