‘We only want justice’: Kathua victim’s father welcomes SC decision to transfer case
The father of an eight-year-old girl who was gangraped and killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to transfer the case to Pathankot, stressing that he had full faith in the judiciary.
The grieving father, belonging to a nomadic Muslim community that earns its livelihood by raising cattle, also said he did not favour a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case that has sent shock waves across the nation and sparked a country-wide outrage.
“We only want justice…I have full faith in the judiciary and the government,” the father told PTI over phone from Ramban district.
His community is moving on foot to the higher reaches of Kashmir in search of greener pastures and has set up a temporary shelter in Ramban along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway due to inclement weather.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ordered that the trial of eight men accused in the rape and murder case be moved to another state, Punjab, after her family and lawyer said they faced death threats.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “I welcome today’s decision by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Kathua case. This will go a long way to boost the morale of our @JmuKmrPolice force who in the face of great adversity have left no stone unturned to ensure that the deceased’s family gets justice.”
The girl was drugged, held captive in a temple and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and battered to death with a stone in January.
The child had disappeared from a forest near her home in Kathua district of Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The state police’s Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate chargesheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district last month.
In the top court, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed that the trial should be held in-camera, be fast-tracked and conducted on a day-to-day basis to avoid any delay.
Deepika Singh Rajawat, lawyer for the girl’s family, said: “The basic concern is fair trial, basic concern is speedy trial. That is the reason the court said there will be day-to-day hearing.”
Rajawat had said she herself faced the risk of personal attack for taking up the case of the girl.
The girl’s father had moved the court, citing threat to his family, a friend and lawyer Rajawat. A separate plea was filed by two accused seeking that the trial in the case is held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.
Advocate Ankur Sharma, who is defending the eight accused arrested by the Crime Branch, said, “We will file fresh writ petition in the Supreme Court for a CBI probe in a few days.”
“The CBI demand has not been rejected by Supreme Court. Only the case has been fast tracked (to be heard on day to day basis) and transferred to Pathankot,” Sharma said.