Not Only Family, We All Feel That Trial Must be Moved Out of Jammu: Farooq Abdullah on Kathua Rape Case

New Delhi: Echoing the sentiments of the traumatised family of eight-year-old Kathua girl, who was gang-raped and murdered, the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said that we all feel that the trial must be shifted out to somewhere else.

He also said that a special session of the state Assembly be convened to introduce death penalty for such heinous crimes.

The Supreme Court had on April 13 taken strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case and initiated a case on its own record, saying such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”.

While listening to the plea filed by Kathua victim’s family regarding the shifting of the case to Chandigarh, the apex court issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir state government and sought a reply on the same. The court further ordered to provide security to the Kathua victim’s family and the lawyer.
“They prevented even the chargesheet to be presented in the court. Therefore, not only that family but we all feel that the trial must be shifted out to somewhere else, where they can get justice,” said Abdullah.

According to the chargesheet filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.

The young victim, from a minority nomadic community, was allegedly held in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year. During that time she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.

There has also been a demand that the case behanded over to the CBI as the state police have not given a good account of themselves.

“Crime branch is one branch – it doesn’t say Jammu or Kashmir or Ladakh. Therefore, those who demand CBI probe do not trust the police…I think the trial should begin. It should be moved out and automatically you will see that the truth will come out,” said Abdullah.

On being asked about the perception that his own party did not do enough to raise the issue on the streets of Kashmir or in the Assembly, Abdullah shot back with “go and get the records from the Assembly”.

“We raised it in the Assembly. Go and get the records of the Assembly, it was raised and we asked the government to immediately look into this before it blows up. Nothing was done, everybody was silent. Now that the government of India is speaking the whole world is talking about it,” said Abdullah.

Abdullah pointed out that one of the ministers, Lal Singh, who has now resigned for attending a rally in support of the rape accused in the case, has said that he was ordered by the president of his party to join the march that took place in Kathua.

“Why is this polarisation taking place. Why is the nation being divided on the communal lines just to win elections. It’s not the question of who, those people who want to win elections on communal basis are trying to divide the nation,” said Abdullah.

Abdullah said there is a clear attempt to drive a wedge between Jammu and the Kashmir valley and blamed the PDP-BJP government of being behind it, but he underscored the plural nature of the state and said the state belongs to everyone.

“Yes it has been done, this PDP-BJP govt has made sure of it, they have divided it so much so that you want to appoint a Muslim officer in Jammu, they wouldn’t allow, they won’t bow down. Whereas this state belongs to everyone Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, christians, Buddhists,” said Abdullah.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi


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