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Kathua rape and murder: Chief investigator regrets Vishal’s release on benefit of doubt

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Jammu, Jun 11: It was like looking for a needle in a haystack till an unusual sweat on Sanji Ram’s face on a chilly January morning hinted he was hiding something, recalls R K Jalla – the chief investigator in the rape and murder case of an 8-year old girl in Kathua.
Sanji Ram, along with two others, were convicted for life on charges of rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua by a sessions court in Pathankot on Monday.
Retired from service barely three months ago, Jalla was handed the case that was given to the crime branch on January 27, 2018. One of the most decorated Jammu and Kashmir police officers, Jalla spoke to PTI, recounting the challenges his team faced.
“After having investigated the crime scene, we went to meet Sanji Ram (one of the main accused in the case). As I and my team started enquiring about his family members including his arrested juvenile nephew, I asked about his son Vishal. Sanji Ram immediately conveyed to me in a boastful voice that his son was studying in Meerut and I can go and check from his CDR (Call Data Record). I started wondering about two things — why is he insisting that I should go and check Vishal’s call records and second, why the hell is he sweating on a chilly morning of January,” the 60-year-old Jalla recalled.
The sessions court in Pathankot had on Monday sentenced Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parwesh Kumar to life and the three dismissed policemen – Anand Dutta, Tikal Raj and Surinder Singh – to five years in jail.
Vishal, son of Sanji Ram, was acquitted by the court.
Jalla’s only regret in the case was Vishal’s release on the benefit of doubt. “I can only hope that an appeal is filed challenging the acquittal,” he said.
Jalla said Sanji Ram made every attempt to save his son from this case. “I can only hope that the evidence collected by the crime branch during a painstaking investigation is appreciated by High Court,” he said.
Inspector General (Crime) Ahfadul Mujtaba had already said on Monday that they would file an appeal against the acquittal of Vishal.
The case had assumed political dimensions with at least two former BJP leaders Lal Singh and Ganga Singh joining a protest march on March last year during which demand for the release of Sanji Ram and others was made.
The case saw straining of ties between PDP and BJP alliance government but as investigators in the case, Jalla said he “had received not a single call from any of the BJP leaders”.
“There was no political pressure whatsoever on me or my team and we were doing our job with complete dedication and honesty,” he added.
Jalla was part of the first batch of police officers that joined Special operations group – an anti-militancy crack forces formed in the early 1990s.
He retired on March 31 this year as Senior Superintendent of Police (crime branch).
The officer’s role was appreciated by the prosecution team comprising S S Basra, J K Chopra, Bhupinder Singh and Harminder Singh, who said Jalla had laid a strong foundation for the case that ensured defence witnesses were on the back foot.
J K Chopra, who led the prosecution team along with Basra, said Jalla’s dedication saw many of defence witnesses backtrack after evidence, be it technical or physical, were produced in the court.
However, Jalla said it was never a one-man-show. “It is absolutely a wonderful team work where prosecution and investigators were always on the same page. It may be for the first time that the prosecution has not sought a single adjournment in the case,” he said.
The officer, with a smile, also added that this case made him revisit all that had been taught to him during training at the police academy.


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Azad on Jharkhand lynching: Keep new India with you, give us old India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: Coming down heavily on the government over recent incidents of lynching and crime in Jharkhand, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the state has become a factory of lynching and violence, “requesting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give us our Old India where there was love, culture.”

“Dalits and Muslims are killed there every week. The PM, we are with you in the fight of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We can’t see it anywhere,” Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

“I request you to keep the New India to yourself and give us our Old India where there was love, culture. Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.

 

“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle, but you’ll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us India where Hindus, Muslims,Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” he said.

In yet another lynching incident, a Muslim man was beaten up mercilessly for over 18 hours on the suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Kharsawan district on Saturday. The 24-year-old victim, identified as Tabrez Ansari, was attacked by a mob on June 18 and was later handed over to the police. He had been in the judicial custody since June 18 and was taken to a hospital on June 22 after his condition deteriorated. On the same day, Ansari succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Several videos of the incident emerged on social media show a man hitting Tabrez brutally with a wooden stick while forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The videos of the Jharkhand mob lynching case have gone viral on social networking sites ever since the incident came to the light.

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GoI approves amendments to give more teeth to NIA

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New Delhi, Jun 24: The Union Cabinet is learnt to have approved a proposal to amend two laws to give more teeth to the NIA in probing ‘terror’ cases in India and abroad, sources said Monday.

Separate bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days to amend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they said.

The amendments will also allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources aware of the proposal said.

 

Amendment to Schedule 4 of the UAPA will allow the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have ‘terror links as a terrorist’. As of now, only organisations are designated as ‘terrorist organisations’.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attack that had claimed 166 lives.

Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.

Another proposal to introduce a bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians could not be taken up Monday.

A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

“The agenda of the Law Ministry stands postponed,” a functionary said.

As of now, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered.

The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is as of now available to service personnel only.

Another proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters could not be taken up on Monday.

As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.

The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.

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Youths click selfies, walk alongside Leopard in Kishtwar

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Srinagar, Jun 24: Pointing towards the increasing man-animal conflict is J&K, a video that went viral on Monday shows a few youth carelessly walking right alongside a leopard on a tarred road while clicking photos and videos in some mountainous region.

The incident reportedly took place in Chingam area of Kishtwar district. The video shows at least three youth audaciously ambling near the leopard that, surprisingly, isn’t aggressive.

The incident comes to the fore      days after days after two leopards were spotted in residential areas of Budgam and Srinagar.

 

Deputy conservator of forests, wild life division, Kashmir, Rouf Zargar had told The Kashmir Monitor that one female leopard and an adult cub were spotted at Ompora, Budgam.

“They were spotted in the adjacent villages of Budgam and Airport. We are doing our best to trace them. Till the time we catch those, people should refrain from moving out during nights and in the wee hours,” he said.

There has been a spike in man-animal conflict in the last few years with several incidents of attacks by bears and leopards taking place in multiple areas of the valley.

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