The special court, Pathankot, has held that strained relations between the Hindu community and nomadic Bakarwal Muslims was a strong motive behind the gangrape and murder of eight-year-old in Kathua in January 2018.
Special judge Tejwinder Singh observed, “There was communal tension in that particular area (Rasana village) where the occurrence took place. The Bakarwal community was apparently not accepted by the local residents of that area, which led to strained relations between the two and as such there was a strong motive behind the occurrence.”
On Tuesday, the special court had awarded life term to three convicts – Sanji Ram, the key conspirator, Parvesh Kumar and Deepak Khajuria – in the case and five-year term to three cops. The court concluded that the girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped at a temple for three days between January 10 and January 14 and later murdered.
The trial against one minor is underway and Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram, was acquitted.
The trial of the case which led to a communal flare-up in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, which was transferred to Pathankot by the Supreme Court in May 2018.
Also read: Division and denial in Kathua village that witnessed ghastly crime
The prosecution had argued that the accused wanted to expel Bakarwals from their area and hatched a conspiracy to kidnap the minor girl ‘to give a shocking wave’ to them, so that they should leave that area.
The court observed that the crime manifested from the background of that area, that strained relations between locals and Bakarwals exist. “Prosecution has brought on record a list of FIRs (for two-year period) of that area which proves a constant conflict between local residents and Bakarwal community,” the court said while referring to 10 FIRs cited by prosecution to prove their point.
The court also took note of a witness from Bakarwal community deposing that Sanji Ram used to threaten their community members. Even Deepak Khajuria too was named by witnesses and accused of threatening them.
The court observed that Sanji ram and his son Vishal had deposed that during winters Bakarwals would reside in the area, spoil crops and were in the habit of encroaching land and that they would object to their act of disturbing and spoiling their crop by animals. “This assertion proves that there were strained relations between them and old enmity led to conspiracy between accused persons to give a practical shape to their plan to commit certain offences against the minor girl belonging to Bakarwals in order to scare away the Bakarwals.” the court observed.
It further stated that “The circumstantial evidence led by the prosecution is definite, which unerringly point out towards the guilt of the accused. The circumstances taken cumulatively form a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that within all human probability, the crime was committed by the accused and none else.”
Also read: Bakerwals hail Kathua rape and murder case verdict, say faith reaffirmed
Jun 12, 2019 03:13 IST
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