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3 Kathua witnesses allege police harassment: SC to hear petition on May 16

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New Delhi, May 14: Three witnesses in the Kathua Rape have filed a writ petition in Supreme Court alleging torture by Jammu & Kashmir police while recording their statements.
The matter was mentioned today before Chief Justice of India DipakMisra by Advocates Ravi Sharma and Laksh Khanna. Chief Justice Misra has agreed to list the matter on Wednesday, May, 18.
The petitioners, who are classmates of one of the accused persons, Vishal Jangotra, were summoned as witnesses by the police. It is their contention that they were “coerced to make statement contrary to the fact that Vishal Jangotra was with them at Miranpur, Muzzafar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh from January 7, 2018 to February 10, 2018.”
“During that period, he along with petitioners attended examinations and practical papers.”
The petitioners have alleged that they were subjected to physical and mental torture from March 19, 2018 to March 31, 2018 by J&K Police. It is their contention that they were abused, humiliated and beaten mercilessly for admitting something contrary to the truth and facts.
Despite the torture and mental trauma, the petitioners gave true statement before the learned Magistrate Jammu under Section 164A of the J&K Criminal Procedure Code.
Even after 164A statements were recorded, repeated summons are being issued to the petitioners.
The petition states that the petitioners are ready to co-operate with the investigation anytime, however, they should be assured of their safety.
Citing the importance of witness protection, the petitioners have urged that their safety be ensured and have prayed that any recording of their statements by police should be video recorded.
The apex court had on May 7 transferred the trial in the sensational Kathuagangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab, but refrained from handing over the probe to CBI saying there was no need as the investigation has been conducted and the chargesheet filed.
The victim, from nomadic Bakerwaalcommunity, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later. The state police has filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate chargesheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.