Supreme Court seeks J&K Govt reply on shifting of Kathua rape and murder case

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to reply on a plea by the father of the rape and murder victim of Kathua to transfer the case outside of the state of Jammu and Kashmir citing lack of security for the family.

The father of the 8-year-old girl whose rape and murder has sparked nationwide protests has requested the Supreme Court to transfer the trial to Chandigarh.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising, appearing for the victim’s father, told the apex court, “the atmosphere is not conducive for a fair trial. The atmosphere is highly polarised.”

The Supreme Court has also asked the J&K government to provide police protection to victim’s family members and the counsel representing them.

The apex court fixed April 27 as the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, The Indian Express reported that all the eight people accused in this case pleaded not guilty in the Jammu and Kashmir Sessions court on Monday and asked the judge for a narco test. The court fixed 28 April as the next date of hearing.

The accused allegedly held the eight-year-old girl, belonging to the Bakherwal community, in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week during which she was sedated, denied food, and repeatedly sexually assaulted before being killed. According to the charge sheet filed by the crime branch, her killing was part of a carefully planned strategy to drive away the minority nomadic community from the area.

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