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Six Guilty Of 8-Year-Old’s Rape, Murder In Kathua, One Freed

Six men have been found guilty of an eight-year-old girl’s gang-rape, torture and killing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in January last year, which shocked and disturbed the entire country and led to street protests calling for justice for the child. Former government officer Sanji Ram, who was believed to be the mastermind, was among those convicted by a special fast-track court in Pathankot. His son is the only one let off, over lack of evidence. The six may face a life term or death penalty.

Besides Sanji Ram, the others convicted in the case are, his friend Parvesh Kumar, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta. The cops were accused of destroying evidence.

The trial, held in-camera, ended on June 3. Elaborate security arrangements were made for the verdict today in the high-profile and volatile case.

The girl, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was kidnapped on January 10 last year and held captive at a village temple in Kathua. She was drugged, starved and repeatedly raped for days. Finally, she was strangled and her head was bashed in with a rock. One of the accused allegedly begged to rape her one last time before she was killed.

The child’s mutilated body was found in a forest area on January 17. Three days later, one of the accused – reportedly a juvenile – was arrested by police. He is Sanji Ram’s nephew. The trial in his case is yet to begin because a petition on determining his age is yet to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Amid nationwide outrage over the savage killing of the child, the case was handed over to the Crime Branch, following which a police sub-inspector and a head constable were arrested for destroying evidence. Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, surrendered on March 20 last year.

News Credit – NDTV

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