In Depth

More shockers from Kathua: After rally for paedophile-rapist, now botched up probe

Crime Branch’s new revelations, that the crime scene was never preserved, and that police sent the victim’s washed clothes to a forensic lab, have added a new twist in the eight-year-old Kathua girl’s rape and murder case. But given how BJP ministers and Sangh forces are rallying for the paedophile-killer cop at the moment make many paranoid about the course this case’s investigation might take.

Even before skeletons would tumble out of crime branch’s “fact-finding” exercise, some 5,000 men and women holding the Indian national flag had walked down the streets of Kathua on February 15 to rally for the rapist — the paedophile-killer cop, who abducted, drugged, raped, tortured and killed an eight-year-old nomadic Muslim tribe girl in January, 2018.

The rally led by the right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch—termed “worse than rape itself” by many—saw the participation of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party’s state secretary, Vijay Sharma. The outfit threatened to continue their agitation, till the accused cop, Deepak Khajuria isn’t released.

While many termed it an isolated protest for the accused, but Sharma refused to see it that way.

ALSO READ: Kathua rape and murder: Deplorable that divisive politics is being played, says PDP

“We are in touch with many incumbent and former MLAs and local leaders from different constituencies,” Sharma told The Wire. “We want the case to be handed over to the CBI because we don’t trust the investigation by the crime branch.”

Sharma’s assertions make it tacitly clear that Sangh forces have somehow ganged up against the victim family by rallying for the accused.

A part of probe, twenty-eight year old cop Deepak Khajuria posted at Hiranagar police station in Kathua was arrested by state crime branch on February 10 after “clinching evidence” was found against him in the case, which has so far followed an intriguing plot.

Khajuria had dumped the victim’s body—with chewed lips, mutilated body and broken bones—on January 17, seven days after she went missing. A minor boy arrested in the case had initially confessed to the crime before the crime branch took over the probe and netted Khajuria along with other SPO Surinder Kumar, for being part of the crime.

ALSO READ: ‘How can a puppet regime take action when cabinet ministers side with the accused’

The accused in their confession had revealed that the crime was committed to “scare the Muslim nomadic community away from the area”.

“Such crimes are being committed to terrorise the minority community,” believes advocate Talib Hussain, arrested earlier for his justice campaign and now providing legal assistance to the family. “Both BJP and Congress have come together to form the communal Hindu Ekta Manch for inciting violence and polarise voters.”

ALSO READ: Kathua rape and murder: Victim was drugged so she cant cry for help, reveals investigation

Soon after the two SPOs were arrested, the Hindu Ekta Manch’s mover and shaker, Sanji Ram, found himself in an intelligence dragnet.

The CB investigation has found that Ram is the custodian of the premises where the victim was held captive. Ram sees himself a “victim” for “opposing a mosque construction by Muslim nomads” in Rasana. But Asifa’s family who had to bury their daughter in the forest, after they were denied a small piece of land in their native village, say there was no such plan.

Meanwhile, the crime branch investigation has also revealed that the police didn’t preserve the crime scene, carried out no searches and sent the victim’s washed clothes to a forensic lab.

ALSO READ: Flag rally with police support in favour of ‘rapist, murderer’ is shameful, says Joint Resistance 

While the fresh fact-finding has added a new twist in the case, the solidarity pouring in for the accused even forced the Chief Minister to clear her stand on an issue apparently snowballing into a major political crisis.

“Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua,” she tweeted soon after Hindu Ekta Manch’s solidarity rally for the rapist. “Also horrified by their use of our national flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration. The accused has been arrested & the law will follow its course.”

Down in Srinagar, as the justice campaigns continue to make news, two of Mehbooba’s serving state ministers from the BJP lately added new dimension in the case. Minister for Forest, Chaudhary Lal Singh and Minister for Commerce and Industries, Chander Prakash Ganga recently attended the event organised by Hindu Ekta Manch at Parashu Ram Mandir in Hiranagar where they asked people to “not care about the law”.

ALSO READ: Kathua rape and murder: ‘People want a CBI probe, not the demand of BJP’

“If you launch an agitation,” Lal Singh thundered in the rally, “do it with full force, or sit at home. What’s this Section 144? This one girl has died and there is so much of investigation. There have been many deaths of women here.” His colleague Ganga termed the police investigations as “Jungle Raj”.

The pressure is being mounted on the investigating officers through political campaigns and communal speeches, believes Deepika Singh Rajawat, the counsel for the victim’s family. “There is a vested interest working here which must be defeated through a fair probe by the Crime Branch,” says the lawyer, who filed a petition seeking the judicial supervision of the police investigation in the High Court, on behalf of the family.

ALSO READ: Voices seeking #JusticeForAsifa amplify in JK, ‘hang the rapist’ demand Medicos in Srinagar

Even as the Jammu and Kashmir Police vow action against the accused, Peoples Democratic Party leader Syed Altaf Bukhari has threatened that his party “will quit the alliance if it fails to deliver justice to the victim”.

“Dangerous attempts of polarizing the situation in an otherwise tolerant and inclusive Jammu region over a dastardly act need to be discouraged,” Naeem Akhtar, a senior PDP politician, said, while terming the unfolding event in the case as “deplorable”.

The opposition too has not been silent. “We also came to know that some goons have asked people to boycott the nomad families,” said Javed Rana, a National Conference legislator.

ALSO READ: Kathua rape and murder: All sections of society come on one platform to demand #JusticeForAsifa

But today, as communal tensions are peaking in Kathua with water supplies to Muslim villages being cut off, advocate Talib Hussain says that people from the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities living in Rasana and adjoining villages have been living in fear since the killing.

Amid these unfolding events and growing tensions, Srinagar continues to host the justice campaigners, who argue, “It’s better to stand up for the victim than hang heads in shame.”

 

Like this story? Producing quality journalism costs. Make a Donation & help keep our work going. 


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top