Kathua Rape Accused Who Had Claimed To Be Juvenile To Be Tried As Adult
NEW DELHI :
The accused in the horrific gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua, who had claimed to be a juvenile, will be tried as an adult, lawyers said today. Medical tests have confirmed that the man was between 19 and 23 years in age. Seven other men are accused in the case, which will be heard at a fast-track court in Punjab’s Pathankot.
The court had ordered the test after the defense appealed that be treated as a minor, citing his matriculation certificate. The investigation promptly sought an age determination test.
The child — kidnapped from her village, Rasana, in January — was drugged, starved and gang-raped for a week before her head was bashed in with a stone. The details of the case triggered outrage across the country.
The police said the assault was an attempt to push out a nomadic Muslim community from Hindu majority areas of Jammu.
In May, the Supreme Court accepted the family’s appeal to shift the case to Pathankot after the matter triggered a backlash in the Hindu-majority Jammu. Rallies were held to show support for the accused, which even drew a couple of BJP ministers. They had to step down later.
Protests were held even at the premises of the Jammu court, with lawyers barring entry to the police, who had gone to file a charge-sheet.
Deepika Rajawat, the advocate representing the child’s family, said she faced threats from members of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, who wanted her to drop the case. The association denied the allegation.