Trial in Kathua rape-murder case begins today

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Jammu: The trial in the Kathua rape and murder case will begin on Monday against the eight accused, including a juvenile. The accused had allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in captivity in a village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year. They sedated her and sexually assaulted her before bludgeoning her to death.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Kathua will commit one of the chargesheets, in which seven people have been named, to the Sessions Court for trial as mandated under law. The CJM will, however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the Juvenile Act, according to officials.

The state government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.

The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Jammu Bar Association and the Kathua Bar Association received a rap on the knuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13 as it took a strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case. The Supreme Court initiated a case on its own record, saying that such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”.

The Crime Branch will also be handing over the notices issued to the Jammu Bar Council and the Kathua Bar Council for appearing before the Supreme Court on April 19.

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