Kathua rape, murder of minor triggers communal tension in J and K

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Representational Image

Kashmir : The rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua has triggered communal tension in the state. As a result, most offices and businesses remained closed in Jammu on Wednesday. The J & K police in the chargesheet of Kathua rape and murder of a minor girl have mentioned that the mastermind instigated his juvenile nephew and six others to execute the ghastly act to drive out the nomadic Muslim community of Bakarwals from Hiranagar tehsil. 

Bakarwals, is a Sunni Muslim tribal community that moves throughout the seasons in the Pir Panjal Himalayan mountains of South Asia. They are mainly shepherds are found in the entire Kashmir region between India and Pakistan

The Crime Branch has submitted an 18 page chargesheet to the chief judicial magistrate, Kathua, late on Monday night said Sanji Ram, the mastermind, was “against the settlement” of Bakarwals in the tehsil, and had been “motivating” members of the Hindu community of the area to not provide them land for grazing.

The “general impression” among the Hindu community in the tehsil was that “Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”, the chargesheet said, adding that as a result, Hindus had been “blaming the Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them”. Sanji’s co-conspirators were also “against the settlement of Bakarwals in the area” and had asked him to “chalk out a strategy for dislodging” them. This rivalry between the two communities in the area has resulted into registration of FIRs and counter-FIRs at various police stations of the area, the chargesheet said. According to the crime branch investigation, the minor was held imprisoned in a temple, using sedatives. The eight-year-old girl was gang-raped several times through the week and even before she was killed.

Crime Branch mentioned that one rapist came from Meerut. The girl was gang-raped also after the mastermind “performed rituals” in the temple. One of the rapists, Ram’s son Vishal, came all the way from Meerut after the juvenile called him with the proposition to “satisfy his lust”. Just before she was killed by strangulation, a co-conspirator, policeman, asked others to “wait because he wanted to rape her one last time”. Later, after killing her, they hit her head twice with a stone to ensure she was dead. 

Following a police inquiry, Ram paid Rs 1.5 lakh as a bribe to cops for a cover-up. The accused — Ram, his son Vishal, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and civilian Parvesh Kumar have been booked under various sections of Jammu and Kashmir State Ranbir Penal Code for rape, murder and destruction of evidence. 

The crime has created communal tension in the state and many people are protesting against police and demanding for a special CBI investigation.