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PDP vows fast-track trial, axes 3 cops in Kathua rape-murder

Apr 15, 2018

Two days after a national outrage against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, the J&K government said it would set up a fast-track court to punish the guilty and enact a law with stringent provisions against child rapists.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Naeem Akhtar announced this after a 30-minute meeting of party legislators and ministers at the chief minister’s residence.

PDP also thanked people across India for their solidarity with J&K over the crime, indicating that the outrage may help mend ties between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the nation. The outrage came against the backdrop of the lament in the Valley about the country’s perceived indifference towards allegations of excesses of security forces.

Political observers felt that while the hope that there could be sympathy for those who get hurt pelting stones at security forces will be unrealistic, falling into the category of “irrational exuberance”, the bond forged over Kathua tragedy may give a crucial opening to those who are working for reconciliation.

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that “going for a fast track court to dispose of the Kathua case is a commitment of the chief minister”. Official sources said that once the fast track court is set up, the trial is likely to be completed in 90 days.

In another development, the Mehbooba government terminated the services of the three policemen who are accused in the case. The government terminated the services of sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Deepak Khajuria, who have been arrested for the crime. While Dutta and Raj are accused of attempting to destroy evidence, the chargesheet says that the mastermind, retired revenue official Sanji Ram, made Khajuria “part of the conspiracy” to abduct, rape and later kill the child. The victim was kept in captivity and raped for seven days in a temple in Rasana village of the Kathua district from January 10 to 17.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba lauded the people of Jammu for ‘dismissing’ communal forces and their ‘unwavering’ support for justice for the eight-year-old girl. “I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces and were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J-K inspire secular unity and righteousness," Mufti said in a tweet.

In an earlier tweet, the CM expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court taking cognizance of an alleged attempt by lawyers in Kathua to obstruct the filing of the chargesheet in the case.

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