Prosecution lawyers in the Kathua gangrape-and-murder case were heckled outside the court premises by the family members of the six men convicted on Monday for the ghastly crime. Harminder Singh and Bhupinder Singh, the lawyers for the Jammu and Kashmir CID who secured justice for the eight-year-old girl, faced visibly agitated kin of the accused who hurled abuses at them as they came out from the court of Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh.
The Punjab police came to their rescue, pushing the crowd aside so that the lawyers could leave safely. After a trial lasting 367 days, the court sentenced to life imprisonment the three main accused while it awarded five years in jail to three others for the destruction of evidence.
The court complex was heavily fortified as the state police and its special units threw a strong security ring, anticipating incidents of violence and protests, which have been a regular feature in this sensitive case which took political colour. Relatives of the main accused Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the devsthanam (temple) where the crime took place, and special police officer Deepak Khajuria collapsed in the court complex as they heard the verdict.
According to eyewitness accounts from inside the courtroom, where media was barred, Ram and Khajuria were visibly shaken after hearing the judgement. The crime branch of J-K Police had filed the charge-sheet against eight persons, including a juvenile.
According to the 15-page charge sheet filed in April last year, the girl was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, and was raped in captivity in a small village temple, exclusively manned by Ram, after having been kept sedated for four days. She was later bludgeoned to death. The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the District and Sessions court in Pathankot in the neighbouring state of Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua, after the Supreme Court ordered on May 7, 2018, that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.
The apex court order came after lawyers in Kathua prevented Crime Branch officials from filing a chargesheet in the sensational case.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)