Three Men Convicted For Kathuwa Gang Rape And Murder Of An 8-Year-Old Sentenced To Life In Jail

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New Delhi: Case of Kathuwa gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old that had rocked the country in which the Pathankot court sentenced three others to five years for destroying evidence to shield the rapists. The court had convicted six people a few hours earlier. Three men convicted for gang-rape were sentenced to life in jail.

Sanji Ram, a retired revenue department official, Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer and Parvesh Kumar have been spared the death penalty that prosecutors had asked for and ruled that they would spend their life behind bars. Parvesh Kumar is the friend of the eighth accused named by Jammu and Kashmir’s Crime Branch for kidnapping the girl and her gang-rape.

Police officials Tilak Raj, Anand Dutta and Surender Verma have been sentenced to five years under section 201 of the Ranbir Penal Code (as Jammu and Kashmir’s penal code is known) for destruction of evidence.

A seventh accused, Vishal - son of main accused Sanji Ram - was acquitted by the court, giving him the ‘benefit of doubt’, said Farooqi Khan, who represented the victim’s family in the court.

The eighth accused, reported to be a juvenile, was not put on trial because the high court is yet to rule on a petition about his age.

The horrific rape, which had polarised the state socially, politically and on communal lines, had brought the BJP-PDP coalition close to a breaking point when several BJP leaders demanded a CBI probe after the accused were arrested by the crime branch.

Two BJP ministers in the erstwhile Mehbooba Mufti government - Chandra Prakash Ganga and Lal Singh – also had to quit for their open support to the accused.

Former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have welcomed the convictions on Monday and took a hard swipe at BJP leaders who backed the effort to run down the police probe.

Abdullah, without naming the BJP, said no words of condemnation are enough to those politicians who defended the accused and vilified the victim. Mehbooba Mufti said: “High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death.”

Sanji Ram, a retired revenue department official, was the key plotter. According to the police, he wanted to drive the nomadic Bakarwal community from his native Rasana village and incited his nephew to abduct the girl. His son, Vishal, has been acquitted.

 

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