The gruesome rape and death of an eight year old girl who belonged to Gujjar and Bakerwal community at Rasana Kathua has finally managed to shake the conscience of the people not only in the J-K but across the country. Even it was noticed by United Nations General Secretary, Antonio Guterres who issued a statement terming it horrific and asked Indian government to bring culprits to justice.
“I think we’ve seen the media reports of this horrific case, of the abuse and the murder of a young girl. We very much hope that the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice so they can be held accountable for the murder of this young girl,” Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujjaric told reporters at a press briefing on Friday. For three months as the police was investigating this case it remained unnoticed?
Even two BJP ministers and some top leaders tried to hamper the investigations by organising protests through recently constituted Hindu Ekta Manch. However the investigating officers of Crime Branch despite odds managed to get clinching evidence against the culprits and when the CB team was planning to file charge sheet against culprits the members of Kathua BAR Association tried to hamper police officers from filing the charge sheet and tried to give it a communal colour.
However all efforts were made unsuccessful by the Crime branch team that is headed by a team of competent officers.
The charge sheet revealed harrowing details which were sufficient to evoke wide spread protests across the country and people rallied against the culprits and the Jammu Bar Association and other organisations with communal mindset that had tried to prevent justice to the eight year old girl.
According to chargesheet the girl was gang raped thrice inside the Devasthan after the mastermind Sanji ram- a retried revenue official had “performed rituals”.
One rapist even was called from Meerut. The culprits confined the girl by using sedatives, then strangled and hit on the head twice with a stone.
And this was done with an aim to “dislodge” a group of Bakherwal Muslim nomads from Rasana village.
As per the chargesheet, Mohd Yousuf father of girl lodged a complaint on January 12 with police that his daughter had gone for grazing horses in the nearby forest at about 1230 hrs on January 10” had not returned.
Police arrested Sanji Ram’s nephew, leading to allegations of a cover-up by the Bakherwal community. On January 22, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.
According to chargesheet Ram masterminded the conspiracy to kidnap and, later rape and kill the girl.
“He made SPO Khajuria and the juvenile a “part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually. Deepak along with his friend Vikram went to Medical shop at Kottah Morh on January 7 evening and purchased one strip of Epitril 0.5 mg containing 10 tablets by showing the prescription of his uncle, who has a psychiatric problem and is under treatment. Although the medicine as per the prescription was not available with Bitu, he gave him Epitril 0.05 mg instead of the medicine written on the prescription,’’ the chargesheet states.
On the same day, the chargesheet says that Ram asked his nephew to “kidnap” the girl who “often comes to the forests behind their house for grazing her horses”.
The juvenile “shared the entire plan” worked out by Ram and Khajuria with “Parvesh Kumar@Mannu, his close friend, and asked for his help”.
On January 10, the juvenile saw the girl asking about her horses. He told her that “he had seen her horses and led her to the jungle”. “He also called accused Mannu. Sensing some trouble, the victim tried to flee but the juvenile stopped her by catching hold of her neck and covered her mouth with one of his hands and pushed her and she fell on the ground,” the chargesheet says.
“The victim fell unconscious and was raped by the juvenile. Thereafter, Mannu also attempted to rape her. They took her and kept her inside the Devasthan “it says adding that on the next day, the “parents of the girl reached the Devasthan and enquired from Ram about the whereabouts of her missing daughter who told them that she may have gone to some relative’s house.
The prayer hall where the girl had been confined was kept locked by Ram. On the same day, according to the charge sheet, “Khajuria and the juvenile opened the Devasthan and again sedated the girl by pushing sedatives into her mouth and forced her to drink water subsequently”.
“On January 11, the juvenile informed another accused Vishal Jangotra about the kidnapping of the girl telephonically and asked him to return from Meerut in case he wanted to satisfy his lust,’’ the charge sheet says.
On January 12, it says, Jangotra reached Rasana at 6 am. “At around 8.30 am, the juvenile again went to the Devasthan and administered 3 sedative tablets to the girl while she was unconscious with empty stomach,’’ the charge sheet says.
By now, it says, a police party from the Hiranagar station, including Khajuria, had started searching for the girl. “Khajuria came to the house of accused Sanji Ram with another police official namely Iftikar Wani. Khajuria advised the juvenile to ensure administering of sedatives to the victim in time,’’ the charge sheet says.
“During investigation it transpired that the accused Ram had already taken the accused police officials into confidence and settled the deal with them,” it says.
The charge sheet says that Head Constable Raj, who was part of the search party, had asked Ram to bribe the police team. On January 12, Ram sent Rs 1.5 lakh to Raj through the juvenile’s mother, it says.
On January 13, the charge sheet says, “Accused Vishal Jangotra, the juvenile and accused Ram went to the Devasthan where Ram performed rituals”. Later, it says, Jangotra “raped the nomad girl. Thereafter, the juvenile also raped the girl”.
After keeping the girl in the prayer hall for days, the charge sheet says, Ram told the other accused that it was time to kill her and “dump her (body) in the forest”.
“The accused Mannu, Vishal and juvenile took the victim from the Devasthan to a nearby culvert… accused Khajuria told the juvenile to wait as he wanted to rape the girl before she is killed,’’ the charge sheet says.
Two BJP ministers’ now former ministers Lal Singh and Ganga Prakash went and attend the rally of Hindu Ektha Manch at Kathua. The ministers even threatened the police officials from arresting people in this case. Even Lal Singh went to the extent of saying that such things do happen.
However despite pulls and pressures and a shutdown call by Jammu Bar Association, the police didn’t relent. It took national media two months to wake up from the slumber. However after the charge sheet was filed it was the media that made people across India aware about this gruesome murder. And the elements especially BAR Association Jammu and other organisations also came on defensive along with BJP.
Not only Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised justice but Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also gave a statement that family will get justice.
However such was the pressure on the family that they left Kathua two months ahead of their schedule as there were attempts to bully them. The JK chief minister Mehbooba Mufti took personnel interest in the case and gave free hand to police officials and even didn’t come under the pressure of coalition partners BJP who were demanding that case should be handed over to CBI.
The BJP was forced to seek resignation from its two ministers. The PDP that called meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue of rape and murder of Asifa praised the BJP central leadership for its role and said there is no threat to JK government.
At the end of Party’s Srinagar meeting, PDP senior leader, Naeem Akhter appreciated the role of its coalition partner BJP for the way it took the resignation of two of its ministers and sought similar cooperation from the mainland people in resolving other issues pertaining to statement.
The statement came two days after Tasaduq Mufti brother of chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti had said that both the PDP and BJP are partners in crime and people of Kashmir will have to pay high price for it.