Kathua rape: Mehbooba welcomes SC's decision, says it will 'boost morale of police'
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday welcomed Supreme Court's order to transfer the trial in the Kathua rape and murder case to Pathankot, Punjab, and said that it would boost the morale of the state police.
The apex court Monday directed that the trial of the gangrape and murder of the child, which had led to nationwide outrage, be moved to Pathankot in neighbouring Punjab.
"I welcome today's decision by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the Kathua case. This will go a long way to boost the morale of our @JmuKmrPolice force who in the face of great adversity have left no stone unturned to ensure that the deceased's family gets justice," Mehbooba said in a tweet.
The SC also ordered that the trial would be in-camera on a day to day basis with no adjournments. The court, however, allowed the state of Jammu and Kashmir to appoint a special public prosecutor to conduct the trial.
The order comes in the wake of a petition being filed seeking transfer of the case as a fair trial would not take place in Jammu and Kashmir where the offence took place. The J&K government had however said that it was capable of conducting a fair trial.
The Jammu and Kashmir government today (May 7) submitted to the Supreme Court that it is ready for a fair trial of the case. Earlier, the family of the eight-year-old nomadic Muslim girl who was gangraped and murdered in January moved the Supreme Court asking for shifting the trial of the case from Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir to Chandigarh.
The accused had demanded a CBI probe into the matter. The apex court rejected this demand and insisted that a speedy trial be done.
Two prime accused in the Kathua gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl had in April moved the Supreme Court opposing the plea of the victim's father seeking transfer of trial outside the state
Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra, who were chargesheeted by the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police in the case, had earlier sought transfer of probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation besides seeking to be impleaded as parties in the petition filed by the father of the victim.
Recently, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had ordered the state police to grant security to the family of the victim, their friend and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat. The top court had then said it would later decide on the prayer for transfer of case out of Kathua in Jammu after the state government filed its reply.
The investigators had said that the girl, who was kidnapped on January 10, was first raped the same day by Ram's nephew, a juvenile, and was killed on January 14. Her body was found on January 17 in a forest. Along with the juvenile, Ram and his son Vishal, five others have been charged in the case, which has shaken the nation and led to the government promulgating an ordinance mandating a death sentence for the rape of a child aged 12 and below.