Kathua rape & murder: Kashmir govt to petition top judge for ‘justice in 90 days’

Lawyers in Jammu protests during a shutdown called to protest against the arrest of rape and murder accused.

The Jammu and Kashmir government will formally request the High Court for fast track the hearing in the rape and murder of 8-year-old Kathua girl, Kashmir Dispatch has learnt.

Highly placed sources in the government say that the formal request will be made to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the Cheif Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar.

Sources say the request will be made particularly in the case of the Kathua minor.

“We will request the establisment of fast track court and deputation of a judge who will hear this case only and deliver verdict with 90 days,” one of the sources says.

Amid outrage over chilling details of the gang-rape and murder of 8-year-old, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had on Thursday said that the state will bring in a law that would make death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors.

“We will never ever let another child suffer this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors…,” Mufti had tweeted.

Calling it a crime whose “brutal savagery has shamed humanity”, Mufti assured people that she stands committed to ensuring justice for the minor and seeking exemplary punishment for the guilty. The child was kidnapped when she was grazing horses near her home on January 10, kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days by a group that included police officers. She was drugged and not given food the entire time. Just before her head was bashed in with a rock, one of the police officers asked the killer to wait so he could rape the child one more time, according to the police charge-sheet submitted in court.

Among the eight arrested men is a retired revenue department official who planned the crime to instill fear among the Bakherwal nomads – the minor was one of them – and drive them out of the Rassana area. They were a small group of Muslim families living in a Hindu-dominated area.

The child’s mutilated body was found in the forests on January 17. As her community demanded action, two policemen tried to help the accused by manipulating the evidence. Her family and relatives were not allowed to bury her body in what they believed was their land, by Hindu families.