New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir state government and sought a reply on the Kathua rape and murder case on a plea filed by the victim’s father to move the trial to Chandigarh.The apex court also directed the Mehbooba Mufti government to provide police protection to victim’s family members and the counsel representing them.
The father of the eight-year-old Kathua victim who was allegedly drugged, tortured, and gangraped in a village temple for a week in January 2018, had approached the Supreme Court today seeking transfer of the case outside Jammu and Kashmir. He also sought safety and security from the court in his plea. Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising, appearing for the victim’s father, told the Supreme Court, that the atmosphere is not conducive for a fair trial. “The atmosphere is highly polarised,” Jaising told apex court. “State police had done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on scientific basis.,” the senior lawyer told court. Meanwhile, the trial in the Kathua gangrape and murder case began today in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Jammu and Kashmir. Aseem Sahni, counsel for accused constable Tilak Raj, alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir police didn’t provide chargesheet to them. “Full chargesheet copy has not been provided to us, we are depending on information from social media. We are handicapped,” he said.
The apex court also took note of a plea of the victim's father seeking transfer of the trial of the case from Kathua, preferably to Chandigarh and sought response of the state government. During the hearing, the victim's father expressed satisfaction with the probe so far, conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Police and opposed the plea for CBI investigation demanded by others. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the state police to provide adequate security at the observation home where a juvenile accused has been kept and fixed the next date of hearing on April 27. The bench said those policemen providing security to the victim's family and others will be in plain clothes. The court directed that chargesheet copies should be provided to all accused, and posted the case to April 28, Ankur Sharma, counsel for accused, said. The accused also demanded that a Narco test be conducted on them to “bring out the truth.” The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch filed the chargesheet in Kathua rape and murder case last week. In chilling revelations, the chargesheet said the eight-year-old girl, belonging to the Bakherwal community, was allegedly raped by six men, who had held her in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January. The minor was kept sedated and sexually assaulted once again before she was bludgeoned to death, revealed the chargesheet.