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Kathua rape-and-murder: CB files charge-sheet as Jammu lawyers protest

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Asifa Bano

Jammu, Apr 09: The Crime Branch of police on Monday filed charge-sheet against seven accused in the rape-and-murder of eight-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua during January this year.

“We have filed charge-sheet against seven accused persons and charge-sheet against a juvenile person will be field separately,” IGP Crime, Syed Afadul Mujtaba said.

At the time of filing of the charge-sheet, some lawyers protested, leading to “law and order’ situation, sources said. Later police had to be called to the spot to tackle the situation, they said.

“There was some resistance and that has been tackled. The charge-sheet has been filed,” the IGP said.

The charge-sheet was filed few days after DNA test confirmed that the victim was held captive inside a temple before being strangulated after being raped several times.

Sources said that the Crime Branch had found victim’s hair strands from Devistan temple in Hiranagar after one of the accused revealed during interrogation that Asifa was held captive inside 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.

The report was received by the Crime Branch along with the postmortem report which has also confirmed the seductive medicine (Clonazepam) was used by the accused to sedate the victim.

The investigating agency has so far arrested eight accused persons including the mastermind Sanji Ram and his son Vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police in connection with the crime.

Sanji Ram, a retired Revenue department official, surrendered before the Crime Branch on March 20 and the development came a day after his son Vishal Kumar was arrested from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, in connection with the case (FIR No: 10/2018 U/S 363, 320, 376, 302 RPC). Both father and son were evading arrest in connection with the gruesome rape-and-murder which send shock waves across the state.

The investigations had revealed that it was not a random crime but part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua. Sanji Ram has been bent upon to dislodge the nomadic Muslim community from Rassana village, the probe said.

“The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon dislodging the Bakarwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy (with others),” the SIT submitted in a status report before the High Court last week.

Body of the victim girl was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team  (SIT) to probe the matter.

Though the incident sent shock waves across the state, several  parties including Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) and National  Panthers Party (NPP)  and initially even some BJP ministers supported the demand for a CBI probe which, however, was turned down by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The JHCBA is on strike since Thursday last in support of various demands  including handing over the Kathua rape-cum-murder case to CBI, a  demand which was also highlighted by women relatives of the accused who are on an indefinite hunger strike since March 31.

The BJP, which is sharing power with the PDP in the state, yesterday  said it supports the issues like deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi  immigrants raised by the JHCBA, but will not like to support them for the Rassana (rape-cum-murder) issue since it was subjudice.


Shame on lawyers: Omar tweets

Castigates Mehbooba  on human-shield case

Srinagar, Apr 09: Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday reprimanded the lawyers who reportedly prevented the police from filing charge-sheet into the rape-and-murder of eight-year-old girl Asifa Bano at a court in Kathua.

“Shame on them & their political masters. An 8 year old girl is raped & murdered and these so called lawyers do not want to see justice delivered,” tweeted Omar Abdullah.

Earlier, reports had said that lawyers prevented Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police from filing charge-sheet into gang-rape and murder of the nomad girl.

They said that police had to rush reinforcement to facilitate the entry of Crime Branch officials into the court.

Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah Monday castigated the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over human-shield victim’s plight.

“This photograph of Farooq Dar is one of the defining images of how much @MehboobaMufti has been willing to surrender to cling to the CM’s chair,” Omar Abdullah wrote in response to a tweet posted by a national magazine.

The magazine had tweeted: “Farooq Ahmed Dar Says He Was An Artisan A Year Ago, Now He is Suffering from insomnia and depression, boycotted by villagers branding him a government agent.”

Omar Abdullah also tweeted: “And to think that her colleagues are happily selling tee shirts to celebrate this shameful occurrence.”

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