The trial court of Kathua, hearing the gruesome rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, scheduled the next hearing to April 28. The court directed that chargesheet copies be provided to all the accused.
Meanwhile, the juvenile arrested in the case moved bail application before judicial magistrate, which will be heard later today.
- Kathua rape-murder case: A grim recount of the trauma that the eight-year-old victim went through
- Kathua rape-murder case: Mehbooba writes to Jammu and Kashmir HC, requests setting up of special fast track court
- Kathua rape: Lawyer's body withdraws offer to contest accused's case for free after SC reprimand
- Kathua rape-murder case: Bar Council of India forms 5-member team to probe conduct of J&K lawyers' body
Also, the victim's father approached the Supreme Court, seeking security, safety and transfer of the case to outside Jammu and Kashmir. The apex court has sought a reply from the state government over the plea of victim's father.
The trial in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case began today against eight accused who allegedly held an eight-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.
Everything that happened during the day:
05:41 pm: "We want justice, the culprits should be hanged. Anything can happen to us, we need security," says father of eight-year-old victim. "We just want justice for my daughter," adds her mother.
04:50 pm: The Supreme Court has issued directions to the authorities to provide protection to us (victim family and their counsel): Deepika S Rajawat, counsel of the victim's family.
03:45 pm: Meanwhile, the Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) has suspended the 12-day long agitation. The lawyers' association has alleged that probe into the Kathua rape-murder case is being targeted at one community.
03:39 pm: Supreme Court asks J&K government to provide security to family of Kathua gangrape victim, their lawyer and a family friend assisting them in pursuing case.
03:29 pm: The atmosphere is not conducive for a fair trial. The atmosphere is highly polarised. The state police has done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on scientific basis, senior lawyer Indira Jaising tells Supreme Court
03:24 pm: Supreme Court issues notice to the Jammu and Kashmir government and sought a reply on Kathua rape and murder case plea filed by the victim's father.
02:48 pm: The father will also seek a direction from the SC for a complete investigation into the rape and murder of his daughter.
02:33 pm: The father is also seeking security for the victim's family and lawyers representing them. In addition, his plea seeks a court direction to strengthen security at the juvenile home where a minor accused - one of eight men accused in total - in the case is being kept.
01:28 pm: Relatives of the victim present outside the Kathua court on Monday accused the media of ignoring extensive reportage of this heinous crime for nearly three months. - IANS
12:20 pm: The Supreme Court will hear at 2 pm two separate petitions including the one filed by Kathua-based lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, representing the family of an eight-year-old girl who was gangraped and killed, alleging that she was facing threat to her life for pursuing the matter.
11:27 am: Juvenile arrested in Kathua rape and murder case moves bail application before judicial magistrate, to be heard later today.
11:11 am: Court directed that chargesheet copies should be provided to all accused, we are ready for narco tests. Next date of hearing is April 28: Ankur Sharma, Counsel for accused.
11:03 am: Victim's father approaches the Supreme Court seeking safety, security & transfer of the case outside Jammu and Kashmir; court to hear the matter at 2 pm
10:30 am: A group of former civil servants on Sunday issued a strongly worded open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, holding him responsible "more than anyone else" for the "terrifying state of affairs" in the country.
10:12 am: Full chargesheet copy has not been provided to us, we are depending on information from social media. We are handicapped: Aseem Sahni, Counsel for accused constable Tilak Raj
09:52 pm: Lawyers in Delhi will be holding a march at 3 pm today to protest against the "conduct" of lawyers of the Bar Association Jammu, who earlier rallied in support of the accused in the case.
08:26 am: Sunday witnessed nationwide protests against the Kathua, Unnao rape incidents. Demonstrations were held in several cities including Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
08:17 am: The lawyer of the eight-year-old victim said that she fears for her life as she may get rape and murdered.
08:11 am: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti accepted resignation of two BJP ministers who had rallied in support of the accused in the Kathua rape-murder case.
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, a move being seen as made to ensure "neutrality" in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
Yesterday, the daughter of prime accused Sanji Ram said that her father be hanged to death if found guilty in investigation by a “credible agency”.
"My father (Sanji Ram) and brother (Vishal) should be hanged to death if they are found guilty, provided the investigation is conducted by a credible agency. We want justice for the girl by a probe through credible agency and only such probe can ensure our father's and brother's innocence," one of Ram's daughters said.
Ram's daughter also asserted that they themselves are seeking justice for the girl.
"Media should have heard us, our side and our fears on the probe by the Crime Branch. Wanting a CBI probe to give justice to 8-year girl, meant to media that we were shielding culprits or creating hurdle in the probe. It was wrong. We always batted for justice for the girl," she said.
She expressed doubt about the credibility of the probe by the Crime Branch.
"Being a girl, I am pained over the treatment meted out to the victim but I am doubtful over the probe being conducted by the Crime Branch," she said.
"We have doubts over the investigation and there are reasons for it. We strongly demand a CBI inquiry to ensure justice to the victim as well as the local people," she added.
Her younger sister also questioned the Crime Branch's investigation asking how could a father call his son for raping a minor girl -- as claimed in the chargesheet.
"Can you imagine what this (statement in charge-sheet of Crime Branch) means? It is shameful that someone says an old man called his young son from his college in UP to rape a little girl," she said.
The Supreme Court initiated a case on its own record saying such impediment "affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice".
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud was also critical of the Jammu High Court Bar Association, which had passed a resolution not to attend the courts saying "it is the duty of the bar association as a collective body and they cannot obstruct the process of law".
According to the charge sheets filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.
It lists the caretaker of 'Devisthan', a small temple, in a village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the crime.
Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram's nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias "Shamma".
The charge sheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
All eight are under arrest.
The crime branch will also be handing over the notices issued to the Jammu Bar Council as well as Kathua Bar Council for appearing before the Supreme Court on April 19.
The Bar Association of Kathua has already retracted from its earlier statement of providing legal assistance free of cost to the accused and said after going through the chargesheet presented by the crime branch (against the accused in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on April 9) it is revealed that the allegations against the accused persons are very grave and as such this case is to be dealt with in a professional way.
"As such, we have withdrawn our offer to contest the case free of cost. Accused are free to engage any individual advocate and exercise their respective rights of defence in the court. It is for any individual advocate to accept the brief and the bar association will not come in the way of defence nor the bar association will hamper the prosecution," President of BAK Kirty Bhushan Mahajan had said in a seven page statement yesterday.
Members of the same association had blocked the way of crime branch personnel from submitting the chargesheet before the chief judicial magistrate for six hours forcing the police to present it at the house of the magistrate.
Police have already registered a case against lawyers for obstructing public servants from performing their duty.
The Jammu Bar association, which was left red-faced after the Supreme Court's observation, attempted to put a brave face saying they had full faith in the top court and said their main demand was for shifting of illegally settled Rohingyas.
It denounced the attempts made by certain quarters for making wrongful attempts to project the association as "pro-rapist" or "anti-national".
The association today fielded a senior woman advocate Surinder Kour who said "we are now satisfied that the case has reached the Supreme Court and we are satisfied that justice will be delivered to the minor girl."
Jammu Bar association is on strike since April 4 and sponsored a general strike on April 11 in Jammu to press for its demands including for according district status to Nowshera sub division in Rajouri district.
"We included the demand for CBI probe into the Kathua rape and murder at the request of civil society," Ms Kour said and accused the state government of forcing them into agitation by "giving no response to our concerns despite repeated memorandums and statements."
(With inputs from agencies)
Watch full coverage of the news on Aaj ki Baat: