Pathankot: The gruesome Kathua rape and murder case of a minor girl that has shocked the whole nation with its heinous crime details into the little girl’s cruel death has finally received justice with the District and Sessions Judge in Pathankot awarding life imprisonment to the accused in the crime while acquitting one of accused.
The little girl’s father a nomadic Bakarwak had earlier promised to never return to the Kathua after loosing his daughter to these heinous criminals.
The District and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh has ordered five years of imprisonment for the remaining three men convicted in the case while the seventh accused Vishal Jangotra, son of main conspirator Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, was acquitted.
The eighth accused in the case claims to be a juvenile shall face trial as his plea on determination of his age is yet to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir high court.
“In the present case, facts are many but the truth is one — that under a criminal conspiracy, an innocent eight-year-old girl has been kidnapped, drugged, raped and ultimately murdered. Perpetrators of the crime have acted in such a manner as if there is a ‘law of the jungle’ prevalent in society,” said the judge in his order.
Quoting a famous Mirza Ghalib couplet, the Judge compared the victim to a “young chick who wanted to fly high”.
“Pinha tha daam-e-sakht qareeb aashiyaan ke, Udne hi na paaye the ki giraftaar hum hue” the Judge said translating it English: Near the bird’s nest, the young chick was caught in a hard net placed by the hunter before it could take flight, TOI reports.
Accused Sanji Ram, the priest of a local temple where the girl was kept during her torture, his friend Parvesh Kumar and special police officer Deepak Khajuria were held guilty under sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) that is in use in Jammu and Kashmir.
All the three men were awarded multiple sentences for their roles in the crime and these sentences shall run concurrently with the life imprisonment sentence.
The three police personnel – sub-inspector Anand Dutta, special police officer Surender Verma and head constable Tilak Raj were held guilty under Section 201 (destruction of evidence) of the RPC.
Though the prosecution sought death sentence terming the case as the rarest of rare case, the defence lawyers pleaded for milder punishment for the accused on the grounds that “the entire case was based on circumstantial evidence and wrong facts created by the Jammu and Kashmir police”.
One of the accused Jangotra started crying as soon as the quantum of sentence was pronounced in the courtroom, Sanji Ram shouted slogans claiming he is innocent.
Outside the court, Sanji Ram’s daughter protested loudly and said she will take the fight to the Supreme Court.
Around 1000 cops, armoured vehicles, commandos were deployed in and around the court considering the sensitivity of the case.
Meanwhile, responding to the judgment, the Hindu Ekta Manch’s VP said “It was all done to tarnish the image of people of Jammu region.”
Hindu Ekta Manch had last year taken out processions in Jammu demanding the release of the accused claiming the six accused were innocent.