The Supreme Court on Monday, 7 May, transferred the Kathua rape and murder case to Pathankot court, and refused a CBI inquiry in the matter. Importantly, it ordered an in-camera trial that is to be held on a day-to-day basis without adjournment.
“An in-camera trial has been ordered so that witnesses feel protected and the accused feel safe,” the court reportedly said.
The Court added they will keep monitoring the case from time to time.
Reacting to the decision over transferring the case to Pathankot, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh said, “Security is the main concern, we have adequate security in Pathankot.”
Expressing confidence in the probe conducted by the Crime Branch, J&K Chief Minister Mebooba Mufti said,
“I am very clear about this case. J&K Police’s Crime Branch has done a very good investigation, collected all the evidence scientifically. Now the trial will be on the court, which will decide the outcome. We are convinced that there is absolutely no need for a CBI inquiry. We cannot take such a decision because the accused are demanding it.”
The bench allowed the Jammu and Kashmir government to appoint public prosecutor in Pathankot Court, and ask for the state government to provide security to the victim’s family, their lawyer and the witnesses. The next date of hearing in the apex court will be 9 July.
Father Says ‘Full Faith in Judiciary’
Ahead of the trial on Sunday, the girl’s father said that he has full faith in the judiciary, and has now devoted his life to ensure justice is done for his daughter.
“I am satisfied with the police investigation and will not rest till justice is done in the case. I want the accused to be given exemplary punishment for their brutality,” the father of the victim told PTI on phone from Ramban district where he along with his family have been camping for the last few days.
Earlier, the apex court, in a stern warning, had said it would transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the local court in Jammu and Kashmir if there was the “slightest possibility” of the lack of fair trial, saying the “real concern” was to hold a proper prosecution.
The eight-year-old’s father had moved the apex court, apprehending threats to the family, a friend and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat.
A separate plea was also filed by two accused seeking that the trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.
‘Hang The Accused Or Shoot Us’
“Hang the accused or shoot us,” the mother of the Kathua eight-year-old told NDTV. “If there is no justice, shoot all four of us,” she said, according to the report.
“They will kill us if they are freed. People in four villages are after our lives. We are only four people… everything is gone; our house, our entire property is gone,” the child’s mother said to NDTV.
According to the report, the family’s lawyer told the apex court that they were concerned that the trial would not be able to take place peacefully, considering that the chargesheet was not allowed to proceed.
“Koi begunah nahin hain (no one is innocent),” the mother said, when she was told that Sanji Ram, the main accused in the case, had told the Supreme Court that he was innocent and was like a grandfather to the child.
A police chargesheet says the murder was carefully planned by Ram with the aim of driving the girl’s nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community out of Kathua’s Rasana village, NDTV wrote.