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Will look him in the eye, ask if he committed the crime, says fiancé of cop accused in Kathua rape

According to crime branch charge sheet, Deepak Khajuria was the man who wanted to rape the girl, from a Muslim nomadic tribe, the Bakarwals, “one last time” before she was killed.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2018 07:19 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, Kathua
Kathua rape,Kathua Rape Case,Kathua Rape Victim
Renu Sharma was engaged to 28-year-old Deepak Khajuria (in pic) on December 7 last year. They were due to marry on April 26, but with Khajuria in jail, the wedding has been thrown into uncertainty(HT Photo)

Twenty-four-year-old Renu Sharma is desperate for one visit to the district jail in Kathua before she takes a call on her future. She wants to speak to her fiancé Deepak Khajuria, a local policeman who is accused of involvement in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Rasana village.

“I will look him in the eye and ask him if he really committed the crime. I know he will be truthful to me. If he denies it, I am willing to wait forever until he returns. If not, I will ask my parents to look for another match,” said Sharma, a postgraduate student.

But Sharma has been denied the opportunity of visiting the jail so far. “It won’t be appropriate to let her visit the jail. I myself haven’t visited my son,” said Khajuria’s mother, Darshana Devi.

Sharma was engaged to 28-year-old Khajuria on December 7 last year. They were due to marry on April 26, but with Khajuria in jail, the wedding has been thrown into uncertainty.

According to the crime branch charge sheet, Khajuria was the man who wanted to rape the girl, from a Muslim nomadic tribe, the Bakarwals, “one last time” before she was killed. He had then allegedly tried to strangle the girl by placing her neck on his knees, but failed to kill her.

Sharma said she doesn’t believe Khajuria was capable of raping and killing a child. Her opinion of Khajuria is based on a few telephone conversations with him for over a month since the two got engaged.

“I have seen him only once and from a distance, on the day of our engagement. But we spoke over the phone and he did not come across as a man that the police have portrayed. He had requested that we chat over video, but I had refused. He did not insist,” she recounted.

She will neither blame him nor give him a clean chit. “I don’t know the reality. The truth will come out only if the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probes the case,” said Sharma.

Khajuria had joined the police force four years ago and was attached as a special police officer (SPO) with the Hiranagar police station under whose jurisdiction the rape-murder took place. The son of a policeman, Khajuria sported a twirled moustache with a cropped beard and rode a Royal Enfield on the roads of nearby villages, which include Rasana, where the crime took place.

According to the police, Khajuria had a bone to pick with the Bakarwals. His mother and sister said he was involved in two confrontations with the Bakarwals, one before and the other after the crime in January. “A few months ago, some Bakarwal women had brought their goats to graze in our fields. When Khajuria objected, they got into a verbal confrontation with him,” said Khajuria’s sister Shivani, adding that the matter had ended there.

The other confrontation took place when the Bakarwals were protesting against the rape- murder on January 18, a day after the girl’s body was found. “As part of his duty, Khajuria was asking the protesters not to block the road. They responded by snatching his motorcycle key. The protesters’ leader had set his eyes on him then and got him framed,” his mother alleged.

Khajuria is among four policemen arrested for the crime. While the other three are accused of suppressing the case for a bribe, Khajuria is alleged to have been an active participant in an elaborate plan to oust the Bakarwal tribe from Rasana. “Khajuria was the one who roped in a 15-year-old boy to kidnap the girl. He had promised to help him cheat in his board exams in return,” said a senior crime branch officer on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 07:18 IST