Kathua rape case accused plead not guilty, ready for narco test: Highlights

In the Kathua rape case trial, which began on Monday, the court set April 28 as the next date of hearing

The Kathua rape and murder case trial, which began in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, will see its next hearing on April 28. The eight people accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old girl on Monday pleaded not guilty and offered to undergo narco tests. As the trial in the case began, the district and sessions judge asked the state crime branch to give copies of the chargesheet to all the accused and fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing.

Of the eight people accused of the crime, one is a juvenile who is also under arrest. He has moved a bail application before a judicial magistrate which is yet to be heard.

The case relates to eight people allegedly holding an eight-year-old girl captive in a small village temple in the state’s Kathua district for a week in January this year, sexually assaulting her, and then murdering her. The Kathua rape case trials began a day after protests were staged in various parts of the country by citizens outraged by the heinous crime.

After the Jammu Bar association and the Kathua Bar received a rap on the kuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13, as the apex court took a strong note of certain lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case, the Kathua trial is expected to be conducted smoothly. However, the Supreme Court’s actions in the matter and the Indian civil society’s demand for justice in the Kathua case have not eased the challenges faced by the lawyer of the victim’s family. The Kathua rape victim’s lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat on Sunday said that she feared for her life as she might get raped or murdered. She added that she had been called anti-Hindu and boycotted socially.

The charge sheets filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch state that the abduction, rape, and killing of the minor Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy aimed at forcing the minority nomadic community out of the area.

A group of former civil servants on Sunday issued a strongly worded open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, holding him responsible “more than anyone else” for the “terrifying state of affairs” in the country. The letter asked Modi to check India’s “free fall into anarchy” by taking tough action against the alleged perpetrators of the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and the perpetrators of other hate crimes across the country. Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers — Chandra Prakash Ganga and Lal Singh — have resigned following accusations of attending a rally in support of the alleged culprits of the crime.

Here are the top 10 developments in the Kathua rape and murder case:

1) Next Kathua rape case trial hearing on April 28: In the Kathua rape case trial, which began on Monday, the court set April 28 as the next date of hearing, said Ankur Sharma, the counsel for the accused. Sharma also said that the court directed that charge sheet copies be provided to all accused. He added: “We are ready for narco tests.” (more)

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