NEW DELHI:The Jammu and Kashmir police charge sheet in the Kathua rape and murder of a minor girl revealed 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, a tribe that moves through seasons in the Pir Panjal range of J&K, are mainly shepherds. The charge sheet submitted 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. His co-conspirators were also “against the settlement of Bakarwals in the area” and had asked him to “chalk out a strategy for dislodging” them. 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 charge sheet said, adding that as a result, Hindus had been “blaming the Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them”. This rivalry between the two communities in the area has resulted in the 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 captive in a temple, using sedatives, gang raped several times through the week and even before she was killed. The eight-year-old was gang raped also after the mastermind “performed rituals” in the place of worship.
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”. The others joined, too. Later, after killing her, they hit her head twice with a stone to ensure she was dead. Following 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 Ranbir Penal Code for rape, murder and destruction of evidence.
The crime has triggered communal tension in the state, with many lawyers in Hindu-dominated Jammu region protesting against police and demanding a CBI probe. Two of the BJP leaders have also supported the lawyers. Most offices and businesses remained shut in Jammu on Wednesday due to a bandh called by Hindu outfits. (TOI) APP/AFP