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Kathua rape case: Eight-year-old girl’s brutal rape and murder ignites national outrage; all you need to know

The Kathua rape case that united entire country to fight against the heinous crimes that happen against women in the country. The Kathua rape and murder took place in the first week of January, the case came to spotlight for its shocking revelations of how an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu region was raped, sedated, and killed. 

When did it happen?
The eight-year-old had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses.

The news first came to notice, when the father of the victim, lodged a complaint on January 12, where he reported his daughter as missing since January 10.

The motive behind the rape
According to charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch reveals, that the abduction, rape, and killing of the Bakherwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area. The caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple in Rassana village in Kathua about 90 km from site of abduction, is the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape, and killing.

Who are the conspirators?
Sanji Ram 60-year-old (the alleged mastermind) was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.

Even cops name have come up during the investigation and in the charge sheet, the police have named investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. All eight are under arrest.

Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, a Rasana resident Parvesh Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj were also arrested.

The heinous crime
The day after their daughter went missing, the parents went to the Devisthan and asked Sanji Ram (the alleged mastermind) about her whereabouts. He said she may have gone to a relative’s house. According to the charge sheet, the accused gave the girl sedatives to make her unconscious while holding her in captivity at the ‘Devisthan’.

According to the charge sheet filed, the victim was kidnapped and then sedated and ‘rituals’ were performed in a prayer hall, before she was raped, multiple times, by different men.

The juvenile, a school dropout, turned out to be the main player in the abduction and murder, raping the child repeatedly along with Jangotra and Khajuria. Special police officers Deepak Khajuria, lured the juvenile to kidnap the girl on the assurance that he will help him in passing the board examination. Subsequently, he shared the plan, worked out by Ram and Khajuria, with Parvesh Kumar alias ‘Mannu’, his close friend and asked for his help in executing the plan.

Special police officer Surender Verma reached Rassana from Meerut after his cousin’s call, raped the sedated girl along with the juvenile and Mannu. Special police officer Deepak Khajuria also reached the spot and told them to wait as “he wanted to rape her before she is killed”. The charge sheet said the girl was once again gang-raped and later killed by the juvenile.

The case handed over to Crime Branch
On January 23, about a week after the body was discovered, the government handed over the case to the Crime Branch,  which formed a Special Investigation Team in the course of investigation, it transpired that somewhere in the first week of January, accused Sanji Ram decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rassana area which had been brewing in his mind for quite sometime, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and his nephew (juvenile) as part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually.

The entire country protests
This rape case shook the entire country, and media outcry brought politicians out of a deep sleep. Even Bollywood celebrities stood strong and condemned the act. But still, the President, Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah have still to make comments on the rape case.

(Adapted from Free Press Journal)

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