Kathua rape case verdict HIGHLIGHTS: Three main accused sentenced to life imprisonment, 5-year jail term for othershttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/kathua-rape-murder-case-verdict-live-updates-5772581/

Kathua rape case verdict HIGHLIGHTS: Three main accused sentenced to life imprisonment, 5-year jail term for others

Kathua Rape-Murder Case Verdict Today Live News Updates: The in-camera trial in the case was conducted on a day-to-day basis following the Supreme Court directions and was completed on June 3 with both the prosecution and defence counsels examining 114 witnesses in a year

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The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kathua Rape-Murder Case Verdict Live News Updates: Three of the six convicted in the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua were awarded life imprisonment by a special court in Pathankot today. The remaining three accused, all police personnel, were sentenced to five years imprisonment. The seventh accused, Vishal, was acquitted by the court. 

Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, were convicted under Ranbir Penal Code sections and sentenced to life imprisonment. The trio was fined Rs 1 lakh each for murder along with 25 years in jail for gangrape, lawyers said. Three accomplices — Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma — who were convicted for destruction of evidence, were handed over five years imprisonment.

According to the 15-page chargesheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death. The case led to outrage across the country in January last year, with some groups in Jammu also coming out in support of the accused.

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Six of seven accused have been held guilty in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua. Follow LIVE updates on Kathua rape verdict

BJP must answer why its then ministers in J&K supported accused in Kathua case: Owaisi

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said the BJP should answer why its ministers in the previous J&K government attended a rally in support of the accused in the Kathua case. "BJP needs to answer as to why their ministers came out in support of those accused," he was quoted as saying by PTI. Owaisi claimed ministers belonging to the BJP (in the erstwhile BJP-PDP coalition) attended a rally in support of the accused.

Welcome court verdict in Kathua gangrape case, says Kejriwal

Welcoming the court's verdict, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Welcome court verdict in Kathua gangrape and murder of a minor girl. Those monsters who commit heinous crimes like Kathua and Aligarh deserve exemplary punishment." 

Was expecting capital punishment, says NCW chief Rekha Sharma

"Was expecting capital punishment for Kathua rape and murder criminals. The Jammu and Kashmir Government must go for appeal in a higher court," National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma was quoted as saying by ANI.

Kathua rape verdict: Police officers get 5-year jail

Three accomplices -- Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma -- who were convicted for destruction of evidence, were handed over five years imprisonment, PTI said.

Kathua rape verdict: Three main accused fined Rs 1 lakh

The three main accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs 1 lakh each for murder along with 25 years in jail for gangrape, lawyers told PTI.

What are the sections under which the accused were convicted?

Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, were convicted under Ranbir Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention.

Kathua verdict: Another 25 years for three main accused

The three main accused have also been sentenced to 25 years for charges of gangrape, PTI reported. 

Kathua verdict: 5-year jail for remaining convicts

The remaining three convicted were sentenced to five years of imprisonment today.

Kathua verdict: Life imprisonment for three main accused

Three of the accused have been awarded life imprisonment, PTI reported.

Such brutalities will not go unpunished, says VK Singh

"The guilty from Kathua rape-murder case are convicted- it gives me hope that such brutalities will not go unpunished. But it also makes me think of our collective consciousness as a society- why should Kathua or Aligarh happen?  Need to educate our boys on how to treat and respect women," former Army chief and BJP MP VK Singh tweeted.

Quantum of punishment to be announced at 4 pm

The quantum of punishment will be announced at 4 pm today, ANI reported.

Guilty deserve the most severe punishment: Omar Abdullah

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wrote that the guilty deserved the “most severe punishment.” “Amen to that. The guilty deserve the most severe punishment possible under law. And to those politicians who defended the accused, vilified the victim & threatened the legal system no words of condemnation are enough,” he tweeted.

Mehbooba Mufti welcomes Kathua verdict, hopes culprits get 'exemplary punishment'

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP chief Mufti tweeted, “Welcome the judgement. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment.”

Kathua case: Prosecution team likely to challenge sole acquittal

The prosecution team, comprising lawyers J K Chopra, S S Basra, Harminder Singh and Bhupinder Singh, issued a brief statement, saying they would examine the judgement and may go in for appeal against the sole acquittal. "We have sought capital punishment against all three accused convicted of murder and gang rape. It was hard work of all of us and a perfect blend of investigation and legal brains. We have achieve 99 per cent result," the statement said.

Here’s the timeline of Kathua rape and murder case

January 10, 2018: Eight-year-old girl belonging to nomadic tribe went missing in Rasana village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district while she was grazing cattle.

January 12, 2018: An FIR was registered on the complaint of victim’s father at Hiranagar police station.

January 17, 2018: Body of the girl was found. Post mortem confirmed gang rape and murder.

January 22, 2018: Case was handed over to Jammu and Kashmir crime branch.

February 16, 2018: A right-wing group, Hindu Ekta Manch, held protests in support of one of the accused.

March 1, 2018: Two ministers of the BJP, part of the state’s ruling coalition with the PDP, Chander Prakash Ganga and Lal Singh, attended a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch after the arrest of the nephew of a caretaker of a temple in connection with the kidnapping and rape.

April 9, 2018: The police filed the charge sheet before the Kathua court against seven of the eight accused.

April 10, 2018: Charge sheet filed against the eighth accused who had claimed to be a juvenile. The police filed an FIR against lawyers for protesting and attempting to prevent the crime branch officials from filing the charge sheet in the court on April 9.

April 14, 2018: BJP ministers who attended the Hindu Ekta Manch rally resigned from the state Cabinet. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres terms the crime “horrific” and asks authorities to deliver justice.

April 16, 2018: Trial began before the Principal Sessions Court judge, Kathua. All accused pleaded ‘not guilty’.

May 7, 2018: The Supreme Court shifted the case from Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab after the victim’s father approached the apex court saying that he apprehended threat to his family and counsel’s life in Jammu. The apex court directs the trial to be fast-tracked and held in-camera, away from media gaze.

June 3, 2019: Trial concludes after year-long proceedings with over 100 witnesses being examined.

Kathua rape case: Who is convicted, who is acquitted?

Those convicted are Sanji Ram, the village head, his juvenile nephew Anand Datta and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Also convicted are Head Constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Datta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. A seventh accused, Vishal, who is the son of main accused Sanji Ram, was acquitted.

Welcome to The Indian Express' live blog on Kathua rape verdict. Six of the seven accused have been held guilty. The quantum of punishment is likely to be announced by 2 pm. Follow this space to track the latest news

District Court Complex Pathankot this morning

In January 2018, the victim girl had been held captive, as per the police, under the influence of sedatives at a Devsthan (prayer hall) after she disappeared on January 10. Her body was found seven days later in the forest of the Kathua village. The J&K Police Crime Branch investigation had revealed the girl's rape and murder was part of a conspiracy to "dislodge" a group of Bakerwal Muslim nomads from the Kathua village.

The case had taken a communal turn when an outfit called 'Hindu Ekta Manch' was set up to support the accused with two BJP ministers of then J&K Government backing it. Even the lawyers in Kathua had attempted to prevent the prosecution from submitting the challan against accused persons before the court of law. The girl had to be buried 8KM away from her village as her body was not allowed to be buried in the local village.

Describing the murder, the police chargesheet states: "After committing the barbaric act of rape on the minor victim, the accused Khajuria kept her neck on his left thigh and started applying force with his hands on her neck in order to kill her; Khajuria was unsuccessful in killing her, the juvenile killed her by pressing his knees against her back while strangulating the girl by applying force on both the ends of her chunni. Thereafter, the accused, in order to make sure that the victim is dead, hit her twice on the head with a stone."

The case was heard on nearly 242 days by the Sessions Court between May 31 last year to June 06, 2019. After the Kathua case, J&K Government had brought in an ordinance to provide for the death penalty for the rape of children below 12.

The trial was transferred from Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab on orders of the Supreme Court last year to ensure a fair trial and safety of witnesses. The rape of an 8-year-old girl had sparked an outrage across the country even as many groups in Jammu and Kathua had come out in support of the accused persons.

The final arguments in the case concluded before the court of District and Sessions Judge Dr Tejwinder Singh on June 06. The prosecution and defence evidence concluded on May 27. The in-camera trial took place on a day-to-day basis, in accordance with the Supreme Court order, and began on May 31 last year. The chargesheet against the seven accused persons was submitted before the court on May 30. The accused remained in the Kathua District Jail during the period of trial.