J&K: DNA tests of the nomadic girl raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua District in January this year had confirmed that she was held captive inside a temple before being murder, police officials said. Top sources in the State Police Crime branch had said that the DNA of hair strands found inside the temple matched with those of 8-year old victim who was raped and subsequently murdered in Rasana village of Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua. “The temple premises were searched for evidence and clues after one of the accused confirmed the minor had been held in captivity inside the temple,” a Crime Branch source had said.
The postmortem report of the victim had confirmed that she had been sedated before being raped and murdered. Sanji Ram, a retired official of the Revenue Department is believed to have masterminded the heinous crime to create fear among the nomad ‘Bakerwal’ (goatherd) community in the village so that they could be pushed out. He is the custodian of the temple where the girl was allegedly held in captivity.
According to the report published in Al Jazeera, accused killed the girl by strangling and hitting on her head with a stone. Just before the death of the girl, a cop allegedly raped her once again.
After crime branch submitted charge sheet, many protests started across the country. As per the investigation, the rape and murder of the minor girl were preplanned, Al Jazeera reported.
It may be mentioned that the girl used to take horses for grazing to the forest. Mother of the victim said that there were scars on the dead body of the girl. The girl had suffered a lot, her mother added.
Now, victim’s mother is worried about her two other daughters. The victim’s father said that after the incident, his family is facing threats and they are always keeping their daughter along with them. He further disclosed that the victim’s teeth were yet to fall out.
On the other hand, victim’s aunt also fears for her two daughters who are aged 9 and 4. Elder sister of the victim is still in shock over the heinous crime. She said that she avoids playing and stopped going out alone.
Amnesty international on Kathua rape case
Human rights group Amnesty International had termed the attempts by some lawyers and a Hindu group to obstruct the investigation and prosecution of the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, as “disgraceful”.
“It is disgraceful that some lawyers and members of the BJP are trying to introduce religious prejudice into the investigation of this horrific crime, and block its investigation,” Zahoor Wani, Senior Campaigner, Amnesty International India, said.
Wani said that the fact that the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had to order police protection for the lawyer of the victim’s parents showed “how deep the bigotry around this case runs”.
The Bar Association of Kathua has opposed the arrest of suspects in the case.
Eight people, including the mastermind Sanji Ram, have been charged with abduction, rape and murder of the “Bakerwal” (nomadic) minor in Kathua’s Rasana village in January.
Two BJP cabinet ministers quit
Two BJP ministers who had attended a rally in support of the accused in Kathua rape and murder case had resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Sources in the know of the development said that after the Chief Minister demanded their resignation, Ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga submitted their resignation to State BJP chief Satpal Sharma.
The ministers had last month attended a rally in Hiranagar area of Kathua district organised by Hindu Ekta Munch in favour of the seven people accused in the rape and subsequent murder of an eight-year-old girl.
Although the two ministers said their statements were twisted and quoted out of context, there has been an overwhelming public outcry against them.
While Ganga held the Industries portfolio, Lal Singh held the Forest department.
Muslims flee village
There are no Muslims left in the village of Rasana, which has become a symbol of India’s rape crisis after the brutal murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl blamed on Hindu men.
It seems to have worked: the girl’s family have headed for the Kashmir hills under police protection. Other Muslim families in the community of around 100 people all left after the rape in January.
At the empty home of the dead girl’s family, five armed police kept guard half asleep in chairs outside.
Police say the child was drugged, held captive in a Hindu temple for five days, and repeatedly raped before being beaten to death.
Her anonymous grave in orange earth partially covered by weeds is in a nearby village in Kathua district, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the region’s main city Jammu.
Media reports said Hindus in Rasana refused to allow the girl to be buried there.
With inputs from IANS/AFP