The Pathankot special court on Monday convicted six out of seven people accused in the Kathua rape and murder case one year after the incident occurred.
The temple priest and village head Sanji Ram, the main accused in the case, was convicted with 5 others including two special police officers and a police constable. The others who were convicted include Sanji Ram’s juvenile nephew and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma.
Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, have been convicted under Ranbir Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention.
They have been sentenced to life imprisonment and fined INR₹ 1 lakh each for murder along with 25 years in jail for gangrape.
Three accomplices, the Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma were convicted of destruction of evidence have been handed over five years imprisonment.
All the accused were arrested for the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua region. Meanwhile, Sanji Ram’s son Vishal was acquitted of all charges in the case as he was able to successfully produce an alibi to prove his innocence.
RPC and not the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is applicable in J&K.
The Supreme Court on May 7th, 2018 transferred the case from Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab and the in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3rd. The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua.
The girl’s body was found on January 17th, 2018 and autopsy confirmed gang rape and murder.
The case had become a national headline last year, moreover two ministers of the saffron party, the BJP’s Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga organised a rally by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the accused arrested by the state crime branch.
The verdict is also a slap on the face of right wing private media outlets that behave as the BJP government’s mouthpiece who ran fake news to cover for the rapists.
Source : Various