Kathua Rape-Murder: Victim’s family denied cattle fodder in home village, forced to relocate
Srinagar, Nov 15: For the first time in the last 30 years, Muhammad Yusuf will not be returning to his native village, Rasana, in Jammu’s Kathua district, in the winter with his livestock.
The villagers who sold him fodder have refused to trade with him, threatening his survival in his abode he was ready to return to despite the gruesome rape and murder of his 8-year-old daughter last year.
He is looking for a new place to feed his cattle, after spending eight months shepherding them from one pasture to another.
“I used to deal with a few people who are Hindu. Every year, they would sell a sufficient quota of dried leaves for my livestock. But this year, they refused to do so, due to which I am now looking for another place,” he said.
Yusuf, who also owns 14 kanal of land and a five-roomed house in Rasana, said they were not getting abundant grazing fields for the cattle.
“We can’t be like this for more days, as my cattle will die if they don’t get food on time. We are now thinking to move to some other place where there is abundant grazing area and availability of fodder,” he said.
Yusuf said he needed to stay at a particular place with his cattle for the next five month, till abundant grass grows in Kashmir in spring.
“We prefer to stay at one place during winters. Our nomadic life starts with the onset of Spring season when we usually move to Kashmir parts and Leh,” he said.
Like Yusuf many, Bakarwals are unsure about returning to Rasana village since they won’t get fodder for their livestock during winter.
“We are so many families staying here at Samba. There is no point to visit Rasana when our cattle will have to starve for food,” he said.
Since the rape and murder of minor Bakarwal girl in January, the Bakarwal families have been living a fearful life as protest and campaigns by selected groups gained momentum against the arrest of accused.
The session judge at Pathankot is holding trial for the gruesome Kathua rape-and-murder case on directions of the Supreme Court.
The trial was assigned to the district and sessions court in Pathankot by the Supreme Court earlier this year after the victim’s family approached with a plea to transfer the case from Kathua.