Hearing began in the Kathua gangrape and murder case today, in which eight accused including a juvenile stand trial. They were held for allegedly gangraping and murdering an 8-year-old girl in January. The girl, belonging to the Bakherwal community, was held captive in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week during which she was sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
In view of the Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case, the Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, to ensure “neutrality” in the sensitive case. The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Supreme Court on April 13 took strong note of the attempt by a group of lawyers in Kathua obstructing the judicial process in the case and sought explanations from the Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Council, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association.
The incident has drawn huge criticism and anger from across the country with people demanding justice for the minor. Two state BJP ministers– who had participated in a rally in support of the accused– have resigned and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has forwarded their letters to Governor NN Vohra for acceptance.