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DNA test confirms Asifa was held captive in temple

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Kuthua rape-and-murder case

Srinagar, Apr 04: Eight-year-old rape-and-murder victim Asifa Bano was held captive at a temple in Kathua before being murdered, DNA report has suggested.

Quoting sources, GNS news agency said the DNA test of hair strands recovered by the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police from Devsthan temple in Rassana village has matched with Asifa’s hair.

One of the accused in the case had earlier confessed during interrogation that the girl was held captive at the temple.

“The crime site was searched and the hair strands were found and sent to Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) New Delhi. The report confirmed that they were that of Asifa,” said the report.

The report was received by the Crime Branch on Tuesday along with the postmortem report which has also confirmed that sedatives were used to knock her unconscious.

An official of the Crime Branch, according to the report, said that the charge-sheet will be filed after they receive the medical report.

Nine accused, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram – a former Revenue department official– and his son Vishal Kumar, a police Sub-Inspector, a Head Constable, and two SPOs have been arrested in the case.

Sanji Ram, who according to the police is the mastermind in the abduction, rape and murder of minor girl, surrendered before the police on March 20. His surrender came after the arrest of his son Vishal – a BSc Agriculture student – from Meerut area of Uttar Pradesh.

Ram, said to be linked with the Hindu Ekta Manch, allegedly motivated special police officer (SPO) Deepak Khajuria to kidnap, rape and murder the eight-year-old victim with the intention of driving out nomadic Bakerwal (Muslim) families from Kathua’s Rasana village.

The girl was kidnapped on January 10, after which she was allegedly drugged and raped. Her mutilated body was recovered on January 17.

The Hindu Ekta Manch, an NGO backed by the BJP, has been demanding a CBI investigation into the incident. Others backing the demand are BJP ministers Chander Prakash Ganga and Lal Singh, besides the Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh.


Wife of main accused joins fast-unto-death protest

Kathua, Apr 04: The wife of a former Revenue department official, believed to be the mastermind in the rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl, today joined a hunger strike here, demanding transfer of the case to the CBI.

Four women relatives of the accused had embarked on the fast-unto-death on March 31 and 60-year-old Sanji Ram’s wife joined it today, after the health of the others deteriorated and they were shifted to a hospital, a police official said.

The official said Ram’s wife Darshna Devi (53), Surishta Devi (45), Vidya Devi (70) and Vishno Devi (66) today replaced the other women. They are seeking transfer of the case to the CBI for a “fair probe”.

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

Ram is accused of masterminding the girl’s killing to instill fear among the Bakerwal community and drive them out from the area.

He surrendered to the Crime Branch on March 20, a day after his son was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.

On March 08, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had rejected the demand for a CBI probe, saying that the investigation was almost complete.

The Crime Branch, which took over the case from the local police on January 23, arrested several people in connection with the case.

Soon after the incident, local residents had  marched through the streets with a tricolor to press for release of the arrested persons. They later changed their demand to a CBI inquiry after criticism from different quarters.

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