The trial in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case begins today against 8 accused, who allegedly held an 8 year old girl in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death. The accused include a juvenile against whom a separate charge was filed.
The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will be committing one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law. The chief judicial magistrate will however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act, according to officials.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case, being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu- Muslim polarization over the case. The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Supreme Court on April 13 took strong note of the attempt by a group of lawyers in kathua obstructing the judicial process in the case and sought explanations from the Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Council, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association.
The Incidednt has drawn huge criticism and anger from across the country with people demanding justice for the minor. Two state BJP ministers- who had participated in a rally in support of the accused- have resigned and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has forwarded their letters to Governor NN Vohra for acceptance.