The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu & Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the eight-year-old Kathua gangrape and murder victim, their lawyer and a family friend assisting them in prosecuting the case. The court asked to undergo narco tests on the accused.
The court had said on Friday that access to justice can not be obstructed, after local lawyers tried to stop filing of the chargesheet in the case last week. The judge A.S. Langeh postponed the hearing in the matter for April 28. It is believed that the accused list include four police officers and a retired government official, all of whom have sexually assaulted a minor girl and then murdered her in January this year.
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The lawyer Deepika Singh had earlier claimed that she has been threatened by the president of Jammu High Court Bar Association BS Salathia for representing the victim's family in the court.
According to ANI news agency, the father of the eight-year-old victim approached the apex court to seek safety, security and transfer of the case outside the state. The court also asked the Crime Branch of the J&K Police to give copies of the chargesheet to the accused. The police have in all named 8 accused in the case.
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The bench issued notice to the state on the petition from Mohd Akhtar, victim's father, seeking transfer of the trial outside Kathua court to a court in Chandigarh on the grounds that the atmosphere in Kathua was not conducive for fair trial. Anger and shock have swept the country as details emerged last week of how the child was kidnapped, drugged, raped and brutally killed in captivity.
The trial in the case started in the District and Sessions Court in Kathua on Monday. "The father of the victim has no problem with the police investigation", she said, adding the prayer regarding transfer of the case outside the state and Chandigarh has been mentioned due to physical proximity from Kathua. "Sanji Ram, the caretaker of "Devisthan", a small temple in a village in Kathua, as the main conspirator behind the crime", chargesheet reads.
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However, in a fast development, during the medical examination of the victim, it was found that she was not a minor when the rape took place in June, 2017.