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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Mehbooba Mufti wants fast track court set up for hearing Kathua rape case

The rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua has caused outrage across the country.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2018 23:32 IST
Ravi Krishna Khajuria
Ravi Krishna Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has written to the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court with a request to set up a special fast track court for the Kathua rape case.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has written to the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court with a request to set up a special fast track court for the Kathua rape case.(HT File Photo)

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday requested the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir high court to form a special fast-track court to try suspects in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl that has sparked public outrage across India, as her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) moved to cover up cracks exposed by the incident in its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

When it is formed, the first fast-track court to try a case in Kashmir would complete the trial in 90 days, home department officials with knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity

The Jammu and Kashmir government has also decided to terminate the services of four police officers named as suspects along with four others in the case. Sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma were named in the charge sheet filed by the police crime branch.

Investigators say the girl from the Bakarwal Muslim nomadic tribe was kidnapped, held in a temple in Kathua’s Rasana village, drugged, repeatedly raped and then murdered to scare her community out of the neighbourhood. Her body was found on January 17, seven days after she went missing.

Details of the rape-murder revealed by the charge sheet, and support extended to the accused by two BJP ministers in Kashmir, triggered public and political outrage and exposed cracks in the state’s ruling coalition.UN chief Antonio Guterres termed the incident “horrific” and expressed hope that the authorities would bring the perpetrators to justice.

The ministers, Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga , quit the cabinet on Friday. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Saturday that here was no threat to the coalition. He said the resignations of the two ministers had been sent to the chief minister. Mehbooba had told the alliance partner that for the coalition to survive, the two would have to quit, an aide to the chief minister said on condition of anonymity.

“We appreciate our alliance partner and the way they helped us; prime minister, home minister, Ram Madhav and Amit Shah played their roles and sought the resignation of the two ministers whose role was not positive, and I think that was also a confidence building measure.” senior PDP minister Naeem Akhtar said.

The PDP held a meeting in Srinagar on Saturday to review its three-year-old alliance with the BJP, the security situation in Kashmir and the rape-murder in Kathua that triggered an emotional response from across the country.

Mehbooba said the way the whole country called for justice for the innocent girl had generated a new hope among the people of Jammu and Kashmir which “needs to be built on to recreate an inclusive India”.

“Intolerance and hate are hitting at the country’s core values and posing a great threat to the pluralism, the only option for achieving the goals India has set out,” she said in a statement.

Mehbooba said it is time for the entire political class of the country to take note of the tragedy that has unfolded in Jammu and Kashmir. “There is no scope for delaying any further a meaningful and bold response to what has now developed into a moral, political and humanitarian challenge for this billion plus nation,” she said.

The anger triggered by the Kathua rape-murder and the rape of a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, by a BJP legislator whose brother is accused of fatally assaulting her father prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to term the crimes “shameful”

“As a and as a society, we are ashamed of such incidents,” he said.

First Published: Apr 14, 2018 15:14 IST

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