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Kathua rape and murder: CM seeks fast-track court, sacks accused cops

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti during a One Day Tribal Convention at Gujjar Desh Charitable Trust in Jammu on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI12_18_2016_000079B)

Srinagar, Apr 14: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who also holds the Home portfolio, on Saturday, terminated the services of four policemen accused in the rape and murder of a minor in Kathua district.
The Chief Minister also wrote to the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, seeking a fast track court to conclude within 90 days the trial in the case that has caused a nation-wide outrage, official sources said here.
Informed sources said the state government terminated the services of a sub-inspector, a head constable and two Special Police Officers (SPOs) accused in the crime.
The development comes a day after the resignation of two Bharatiya Janata Party ministers in the coalition government – Chaudhry Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga – who had attended rallies in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.
Mehbooba Mufti is in Srinagar to meet party legislators and senior ministers to discuss the future course of action on the case.
The minor girl from the Bakerwal community was kidnapped on January 10; taken to a temple in Rasana village in Kathua district.
Her attackers, which included temple official and policemen, drugged and gang raped her over days before finally killing her and dumping her body in a forest nearby, seven days later.
The girl was attacked to scare away the nomadic Muslim community out of the village.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also lauded the people of Jammu for dismissing communal forces and their unwavering support for justice to an eight-year-old girl who was raped and killed in Kathua.
“I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces and were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J-K inspire secular unity and righteousness,” Mufti said in a tweet.
In an earlier tweet, the chief minister expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court taking cognisance of an alleged attempt by lawyers in Kathua to obstruct the Crime Branch in filing their charge-sheet in the case.
“Heartening to see the Supreme Court take cognisance of the attempted obstruction of justice by some lawyers in the brutal Kathua rape and murder case reminding us once again of the greatness of this nation,” she said.
“While it may seem to get bogged down by different discourses at times, it’s DNA of love and compassion always remains the same,” she added.
Two BJP ministers, Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash, who had attended a rally in support of the accused persons in Kathua, yesterday submitted their resignations to party’s state president Sat Sharma.
While a meeting of the BJP legislature party is scheduled to be held in Jammu today to chart the future course of action on the issue, legislators of coalition partner PDP are also meeting here to “take stock of the situation”.
The rape and killing of the girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, has become a national issue.
The gory details of the heinous crime surfaced following filing of charges.
The girl had disappeared from a spot near her house close to Rasana village on January 10.
A week later, her body was found in the same area.
A special investigation team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.