The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government directing her to provide protection to the victim’s family and their lawyer after eight-year-old victim’s father requested to shift the trial.
Father of the eight-year-old girl, who was was gang-raped for days and brutally murdered, had moved the Supreme Court seeking to shift the trial to Chandigarh, saying that he fears not getting fair hearing in Jammu and Kashmir.
Deepika S Rajawat, who is the counsel of Kathua rape victim's family, alleged a threat to her life. "I don't know till when I will be alive. I might be raped, my modesty may be outraged, I may be killed, I might be damaged. I was threatened yesterday that 'we will not forgive you'. I am going to tell SC tomorrow that I am in danger," the lawyer said.
The eight-year-old girl belonging to Muslim Bakarwal community was allegedly raped by six men who had held her in captivity in a small temple village for a week in January. She was allegedly drugged so that she could be sexually assaulted again before being bludgeoned to death, according to police.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
Earlier in the day, all eight accused in the case have pleaded not guilty. Next hearing for the case is set for April 28.
According to the charge sheet file by Jammu and Kashmir Police, the girl was kept under sedatives, hungry, brutally tortured, gang-raped multiple times, strangulated and bludgeoned with a boulder to death.