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The trial in the Kathua rape and murder case involving an eight-year-old girl began today with police presenting all the eight arrested accused persons including a juvenile before a Sessions Court here. The police has filed a separate chargesheet against the juvenile accused. The trial against the juvenile will be held before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Kathua as he is prescribed under the Juvenile Act.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Ankur Sharma, who is arguing on behalf of accused, said that the court directed that copies of the chargesheet be provided to all accused and fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing. Sharma said that his clients are ready for narco tests.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, one the accused demanded that a narco test be conducted to ascertain the truth. “Everything will be clear after narco test,” the accused said.

 

To ensure free and fair probe in the case which has led to Hindu-Muslim polarisation, the state government has appointed two public prosecutors, both Sikhs. The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Supreme Court rapped the Jammu Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association for obstructing the judicial proceedings in the case last week. The court asked them not to interfere in the matter and made strong observations to the resolution that was passed by them.

The lawyers had in Jammu and Kathua protested in support of the accused and passed a resolution that they will not attend the court. They had also tried to stop the police from filing chargesheet and the victim’s lawyer from attending the court. They have been demanding that the case be transferred to the CBI. The protest was organised by the Hindu Ekta Much which also saw the participation by two BJP ministers – Chandra Prakash and Lal Singh who later resigned.

Meanwhile, the victim’s father has filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the case outside the state. The plea said that the hearing be conducted in Chandigarh. The top court will take up the matter for hearing at 2 pm today.

Yesterday, victim’s layer Deepika Rajawat said that she fears for her life and said she may get “raped and murdered”. The advocate told ANI that she will move Supreme Court seeking security and vowed to continue her fight for the victim.

The eight-year-old girl belonged to Bakarwal community. The crime had taken place in the Kathua district in January. After being missing for a week, her body was found on January 17 in the jungle.


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