Accused in tight spot as trial begins in Kathua rape case

Eight accused who allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in captivity in a temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death are facing trial.

The accused include a juvenile against whom a separate charge sheet was filed, media reports said.

The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will reportedly be committing one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law.

The chief judicial magistrate will, however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act, officials have said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the case, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case, reported PTI.

The Jammu Bar association as well as the Kathua Bar have received a rap on the kuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13 as the apex court took a strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case, the report said.

The Supreme Court initiated a case on its own record saying such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”, it added.

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