Kathua rape, murder case: Family of girl to move court for stiffer punishment to convicts

The family of the eight-year-old girl, who was gang-raped, tortured and killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua last year, will approach a court for stricter punishment to six men and seek a cancellation of the acquittal of another, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

A district court in Punjab’s Pathankot had in June this year convicted six men for the gang rape and murder of the nomadic Muslim girl, crime which stirred nationwide outrage and pushed the central government to introduce the death penalty for convicted child rapists.

Three men including the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Sanjhi Ram, special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar were sentenced to life imprisonment and slapped with a fine of Rs 1 lakh for criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gang rape, destruction of evidence and drugging the victim under the Ranbir Penal Code, applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.

Three others — sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj, and special police officer Surender Verma — were sentenced to five years in jail and a fined Rs 50,000 each for the destruction of evidence. The court had acquitted the seventh accused, Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra and gave him the “benefit of doubt”. An eighth accused, a minor, will be tried by a juvenile court.

“… We are filing an appeal today to set aside the acquittal of accused Vishal Jangotra, and enhancement of sentence of Deepak Khajuria, Parvesh Kumar and Sanji Ram to death penalty and conviction of Surinder Kumar, Tilak Raj and Anand Dutta under section 302, abetment and conspiracy to commit murder and gang rape of the minor 8-year-old girl child and imposition of sentence of life imprisonment on them and grant of exemplary compensation to the family of the victim/appellant,” the family’s lawyer Utsav Bains said in a press release.

The girl, who belonged to the impoverished Bakerwal tribe that roams the region’s forests, was abducted from a temporary camp her family was staying on the outskirts of a Hindu settlement in Rasana village of Kathua district.

She was then drugged, held captive in a temple, and sexually assaulted for a roughly a week, before being strangled and bludgeoned to death with a stone near a stream in January 2018.

First Published:
Jul 10, 2019 11:14 IST

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