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Victim’s lawyer fears threat to life
SC asks J&K govt to protect victim’s kin, lawyer
J&K govt asked to reply by Apr 27 on transfer of case
P L Uniyal
NEW DELHI, Apr 16: Taking note of a plea of the victim’s father seeking transfer of the trial of the case from Kathua, preferably to Chandigarh, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir state government seeking a reply on the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua district.

The top court also directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the eight-year-old Kathua gangrape and murder victim, the lawyer Deepika S Rajawat and a family friend Talib Hussain assisting them in pursuing the case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said those policemen providing security to the victim’s family and others would be in plain clothes.

The bench also asked the state police to provide adequate security at the observation home where a juvenile accused has been kept and fixed the next date of hearing on April 27.

“The Supreme Court has issued directions to the authorities to provide protection to us (victim family and their counsel),” said Deepika S Rajawat, counsel of the Kathua rape victim.

The development comes shortly after the father of the girl moved the apex Court seeking safety and security. He also demanded that the case, which led to a country-wide uproar, be shifted to a court outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising who is appearing for the victim's father, told the top court that the atmosphere was not conducive to a fair trial. “The atmosphere is highly polarised,” said Indira Jaising.

“The state police had done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on a scientific basis,” she added.

Approaching the apex court earlier on Monday, the father of the eight-year-old girl demanded in his plea that the case should be transferred to Chandigarh, claiming that the trial might get influenced in Jammu. The victim's father further demanded that the trial must be put on hold unless the case was transferred out of Jammu.

The plea further says that “politicians must be stopped from meeting the juvenile accused in the case and that the status report of the case should be submitted before the Supreme Court as the case proceeds.”

During the hearing, the victim’s father expressed satisfaction with the probe so far, conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Police and opposed the plea for CBI investigation demanded by others.

The victim’s father had moved the Supreme Court after his lawyer, Deepika Singh Rajawat, claimed threat to her life. She claimed that she feared getting raped or killed following threats.

“I don't know till when I will be alive. I can be raped, my modesty can be outraged, I can be killed. I was threatened that 'we will not forgive you'. I am going to tell SC that I am in danger," Deepika had said.

An eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic community had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in Rasana forest in Kathua's Hiranagar area. Her body was found a week later. Police investigations revealed she was held captive inside a temple, sedated and repeatedly raped before her murder.

Earlier at 2 PM, the Supreme Court heard two petitions including the one filed by woman lawyer representing the family of the Kathua rape victim. Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, representing victim’s family, had alleged threat to her life in pursuing case in Kathua court. Second plea was filed by a Delhi-based lawyer seeking CBI probe and transfer of case from Jammu to Delhi.

News Updated at : Tuesday, April 17, 2018
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