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Kathua rape and murder case: Charge sheet to be filed next week: Police

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Jammu, Apr 08: The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir police is likely to submit the charge sheet before the high court in the rape and murder case of a minor girl in Kathua district next week, a senior police officer said today.

The incident had sparked an outrage across the state.

“The over two-and-a-half-month long investigation is almost complete and we are likely to file the charge sheet in the court, which is monitoring the case, next week,” the officer told PTI.

 

Body of eight-year-old girl from the Bakherwal community was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

On January 23, the government handed over the case to the crime branch of state police which formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and arrested eight persons, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, in connection with the case. The head constable was charged with destruction of evidence.

Among the accused, former revenue official and the alleged conspirator Sanji Ram (60) surrendered before the crime branch on March 20 after his son Vishal was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.

The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, refused to divulge the exact date for filing of the charge sheet but said the probe was in its concluding phase after the crime branch received the forensic test reports which confirmed that the eight-year-old girl was held hostage at a temple premises, drugged and raped several times before being murdered.

Though the incident sent shock waves across the state, several parties including Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) and National Panthers Party (NPP) supported the demand for a CBI probe which, however, was turned down by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The JHCBA is on strike since Thursday in support of various demands including handing over the Kathua rape-cum-murder case to CBI, a demand which was also highlighted by women relatives of the accused who are on an indefinite hunger strike since March 31.

The BJP, which is sharing power with the PDP in the state, yesterday said it supports the issues like deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi immigrants raised by the JHCBA, but will not like to support them for the Rassana (rape-cum-murder) issue since it was subjudice.

It, however, alleged that one of the members of SIT, investigating the case, himself was involved in a “twin murder and rape case of Hindu boy and a girl”.

“In-charge Karara Police Post, Thathri police station, was arrested in 2007 for murder of a boy and alleged rape of a girl during illegal custody. How can person of such a character and antecedents be associated with the present investigation and is likely to raise doubts on the fairness of the investigation,” state BJP chief spokesperson Sunil R P Sethi had said.

Soon after the incident, the residents of Kathua formed the Hindu Ekta Manch and marched through the streets with tricolour to press for release of the arrested persons but later changed their demand for CBI inquiry after severe criticism from different quarters, including the chief minister.

On February 27, the residents of village Rassana migrated to Hiranagar as a protest against the PDP-BJP government, alleging harassment and mass detentions by the crime branch.

Two BJP ministers — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga — visited the protesters and supported their demand for a CBI probe.

On March 8, Chief Minister Mufti had rejected the demand of the BJP for a CBI probe and said the probe was almost complete by over 95 per cent.

The investigation revealed that it was a pre-planned murder carried out with the intention to instill fear among the Bakharwal nomads residing in the area and drive them out.

One of the arrested persons, who was said to be a juvenile, underwent for a medical examination at government medical college here on March 7 which opined that he was over 19 years old, two days before the crime branch submitted a detailed status report to the court.

Meanwhile, a women’s roundtable conference, organised by NGO Fahad Mir Foundation of Jammu and Swar Raga of Haryana here yesterday, said the social crimes should not be politicised or communalised and dealt as per law.

The conference was attended by eminent women of Jammu who are acclaimed for their social work in diverse fields and research scholars from local universities and colleges.

“Social crimes should not be identified with any cast creed, religion, or particular strata. Women are powerful enough to question and challenge any such negative development in the society,” founder of Fahad Mir Foundation Ruchi Chauhan Khan said.

She alleged that there was some delay in addressing the critical issue of Rassana rape and murder case. “The message should go across that all atrocities against women or any vulnerable section must be seen as social challenges, and not twisted to suit political or communal agendas,” Khan said.


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Convoy movement by road in JK to continue: MHA

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 17: Movement of paramilitary convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons will continue in Jammu and Kashmir as it is “necessary”, the Home Ministry said Sunday, even though it has increased air support to carry troops to the state.

The statement came after 49 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus, part of a 78 vehicle convoy, in the state’s Pulwama district.

In the wake of reports suggesting that the central government has rejected a proposal to ferry personnel of paramilitary forces from the Jammu-Srinagar sector by chopper, the ministry said it has significantly enhanced air courier services in all sectors to cut travel time of troops.

 

“Movement of convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons has been and will continue to be necessary. This is also the case with the army,” the Home Ministry said.

Reports appeared in a section of the media that air transit facility in the Jammu- Srinagar sector for CRPF troops has not been allowed. This is “untrue”, it said.

“Fact of the matter is, over the last few years, the MHA has significantly enhanced air courier services for CAPFs in all sectors to help troopers cut down on travel time during their journey to and back from home on leave,” it said.

In the Jammu and Kashmir sector, air courier service for transportation of personnel of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) are already in operation for quite some time.

This initially included the Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu sector. Later, at the request of CAPFs in December 2017, the services were extended to the Delhi-Jammu- Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector with seven flights a week.

In December 2018, the ministry had approved enhancement of air support by increasing routes and in the Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector, four flights in a week were added to the Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar sector. “In addition, air support is provided by the Indian Air Force as and when required. Several sorties were run for the CRPF in January 2019,” the ministry said.

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For ‘celebrating’ Pulwama attack: Sedition charges against 4 female students

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 17: Four female paramedical students have been slapped with sedition charges after being suspended from a private institute here for allegedly celebrating the Pulwama attack by posting “anti-national” messages on an instant messaging app, officials said Sunday.

The second-year students of the National Institute of Medical Science (NIMS), Talveen Manzoor, Iqra, Zohra Nazir and Uzma Nazir, were suspended for posting on WhatsApp a picture in which they were purportedly seen celebrating the attack in Kashmir that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF personnel.

The picture soon went viral, prompting the university administration to take action.

 

In the suspension order, the NIMS registrar said, “You have posted an anti-national message on your WhatsApp for celebrating killing of Pulwama attack martyrs. The university will not tolerate and strictly condemns such activities. The act is grave and serious in nature.”

Later, a case was registered against the four students following a complaint by the university administration, a police official said.

The students were booked under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity) and relevant provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Senior officials are investigating the matter and appropriate action will be taken thereafter, SP (Rural) Harendra Kumar said.

The Aligarh Muslim University has also suspended an undergraduate Kashmiri student for his alleged objectionable tweet in connection with the Pulwama attack.

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PM on Lethpora attack: ‘Fire in my heart too’

Agencies

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New Delhi, Feb 17: The demand for retaliatory action following the suicide attack in Lethpora grew on Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bihar to inaugurate some central projects.

As NDA ally Nitish Kumar called for appropriate response, ally Ram Vilas Paswan said India should take “revenge” for “every drop of blood shed in Pulwama”.

The Prime Minister said he shared the nation’s outrage.

 

“To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say the fire that is raging in your bosoms is in my heart too,” he said.
Forty nine personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force died on Thursday as a suicide bomber of Jaish rammed a car, filled with explosives, into a 78-vehicle convoy.

The resulting explosion had ripped apart one bus and hit another, spreading metal debris and human remains over a 100-metre radius on the national highway.

There have been repeated demands for appropriate action from the shocked nation.

Slain Rajouri CRPF man: Guv announces ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh

Jammu Feb 17: Governor Satya Pal Malik has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh to the next of the kin of CRPF Head Constable, Naseer Ahmed of district Rajouri.
Naseer Ahmad was one of the 49 CRPF troopers killed when a CRPF convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber.
The Governor prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and expressed sympathy and solidarity with his family members.

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