Special / Kathua case verdict likely today, security stepped up near court

Hindustan Times : Jun 10, 2019, 10:59 AM

With the verdict in the Kathua rape and murder case to be delivered on Monday, tight security has been put in place near the district and sessions court in Pathankot. The incident, wherein an 8-year-old girl from the Bakarwal community in Kathua (J&K) was raped and killed on January 10, 2018, had witnessed widespread protests across the country.

The in-camera trial in the case was completed on June 3 after the defence concluded its arguments. “The court has reserved its judgment, which will be pronounced on June 10 at 10 am,’’ Harminder Singh, the chief prosecuting officer of Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch, had said.

SSP Pathankot Vivek Sheel Soni said a three-tier security force was deployed in the city, especially around the court where the case was being heard.

The chargesheet filed by J&K police crime branch on April 9 last year had claimed that the girl was kept in a devasthan (temple) in a village near Kathua, where after four days of being drugged and repeatedly raped, her body was dumped in a nearby forest. Eight persons, included those who helped the accused in trying to omit proof, were held and booked under Sections 302, 376, 201 and 120 B of the IPC.

Keeping security in mind, the accused, who had to come every day from Kathua to Pathankot, were later shifted to Gurdaspur central jail.

The rape and murder of the minor had grabbed international attention, with United Nations secretary general António Guterres describing it as horrific. A protest march by right-wing Hindu outfits, including two J&K ministers, against the arrests of the accused had also drawn huge criticism.