New Delhi: GIA, the Group of Intellectuals and Academicians have recommended a CBI probe into the Kathua rape incident. An 8- year- old girl was allegedly raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January 2018.
The GIA submitted a report today to Minister of State in PMO Dr. Jitendra Singh. The report suggests that due to glaring inconsistencies such as the timeline of investigation and the composition of the Crime Branch Team in the rape case, a CBI inquiry should be initiated. The key findings of the GIA team are as follows:
THE CHARGE SHEET
1. Post Mortem report: The Charge sheet mentions gang rape by at-leat 3 persons over many days. This is not corroborated by the injuries described in the post mortem report. No such injuries are reported on the victim in the Kathua incident which according to the charge sheet is a gang rape. Post mortem report only mentions abrasions but no injuries.
2. Not Mandir or Devisthan but Devsthan: The charge sheet mentions the site of the crime as a ‘Devisthan’ which is actually ba ‘Devsthan’ housing the Kul devtas of the villages in and around Rasana.
- Is it possible to hide a girl with a height of 4 feet under a table measuring 3 and 1/2 feet?
- Is it possible to hide a girl in this room with three doors and three windows with only grills and no panes?
- Was the site a secluded place where a girl could be sedated and hidden?
- Presence of Vishal Jangotra:Charge sheet mentions the presence of Vishal Jangotra in Rasana on the days of the crime. However, various reports suggest that he was in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, giving exams on the days of the crime. This is still under investigation but is a part of the charge sheet.
4.Motive of the crime: To scare the bakerwals-No clear motive emerges in the charge sheet. If the intention was to scare the Bakerwals, why did the accused resort kidnapping of the child? It is evident that the child would have clearly recognized the kidnappers as they were known to her. If the intention was to kidnap and murder the child, it is not established in the charge sheet.
5.Place where the body was dumped:Body was recovered from a site near the house of Sanjhi Ram. The place where the body was recovered raises questions. Why would an alleged murderer dump the body barely 100 meters away from his own house?
6. The charge sheet says that the victim was starved and sedated. The post mortem report says the intestines have digested food materials.
7. A strand of hair that matches with that of the victim was found by the Crime branch after many days of the incident. This raises questions. Why only one strand of hair? Why no hair on duree under which the girl was alleged to have been kept?
POST MORTEM REPORT
The most glaring inconsistencies are seen in the Post-mortem report. Two post-mortem reports have been found along with Charge sheet. Both are different. The secomd report is signed on 19 March 2018, having substantial alterations. It took two months to give opinion?
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OF THE ENTIRE VILLAGE RASANA AND ADJOINING AREAS
1. Many villagers had to leave Rasana due to harassment by the Crime branch.
2. Three friends of Vishal Jangotra-Neeraj Sharma, Sachin Sharma and Sahil Sharma have given statements under 164A saying that they were tortured to confess against Vishal Jangotra.
ATTEMPTS TO DENY FREE AND FAIR TRIAL TO THE ACCUSED
The charge sheet was filed on 9 April 2018 in the Kathua Court and the lawyers representing the accused were given incomplete and inconsistent copies of the charge sheet on 18 April 2018 which is in violation of the Law and principles of natural justice.
RELEASE OF CHALLAN TO THE MEDIA
In Jammu and Kashmir, all challanas are filed in Urdu. However, in this case, the challan was typed in English and released to the media along with the photo and name of the child victim before being provided to the accused.
Villagers reported that in the night of 16 January 2018, the transformer in the village Rasana faulted with loud bang and the village was plunged into darkness. One person Bishen Singh heard a bullet bike and after 30 minutes saw the bike returning. Two men hurdled in blankets were seen by him on the bike. Even after repeatedly recording his statement with the Crime Branch, it has not been investigated.
The team recommended that it is a legitimate demand to conduct a CBI inquiry into the Kathua case. “Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done,” the team recommended.
On January 10, the minor was allegedly kidnapped and taken to a temple in Kathua, drugged and gang raped over days and finally killed to scare the nomadic Muslim community out of the village. Her body was found dumped in a forest near Rasana village seven days later.
On 17 January 2018, the dead body of the victim was taken into custody by the police to allow an autopsy to be conducted. A team of doctors at the District Hospital in Kathua conducted the post-mortem on the same day. On 22 January 2018, the investigation of the case was transferred to Crime Branch and Crime Headquarters Jammu and Kashmir.
Eight people, including four police personnel – a head constable, a sub-inspector and two special police officers have been arrested in the case and charges filed against seven of them.