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Did cow slaughter fear lead to rape-murder of 8-year-old in Kathua?

The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded statements of 22 witnesses in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua is Jammu and Kashmir. As per the findings of the investigation, the motive of the crime was to drive away Bakarwal community.

It has been discovered that suspicion of cow slaughter by the Bakarwal community was one of the reasons leading to the brutal assault on the minor girl. Two charge sheets were filed against eight accused under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (equivalent of IPC) related to rape, illegal confinement, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy. The accused are Sanjhi Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, civilian Parvesh Kumar, and Sanjhi Ram’s minor nephew.

The chargesheet filed reveals that a particular community had a general impression that the Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter and drug trafficking, which led to hatred and made the culprits commit the crime.

The abduction, rape and killing of the girl, hailing from Muslim nomad community ‘Bakerwal’, was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority community from the area, reveals a 15-page charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here on Monday.

Prime accused Sanjhi Ram, according to the findings of the investigation, always motivated the members of his community in the area to not provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance. He even made attempts to stall the selling of land by one Harnam Singh to a member of the Bakarwal community.

According to the chargesheet, Sanjhi Ram, with the help of ex- Sarpanch of Kootah and Rasana area, stopped the payment on account of installation of telephone towers in his land through the tehsildar concerned, claiming that the land in question was a state land. Harnam Singh approached the High court and got the impugned order of Tehsildar quashed.

Another accused Vishal, who is pursuing B Sc in Agriculture at a college in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, had returned to his village after he was informed by his relative, Shubam Sangra alias ?Chuboo? about the kidnapping of the girl telephonically on January 11 and asked him to return in case ?he wanted to satisfy his lust?, the charge sheet presented by the crime branch in the court said.

On January 12, the investigators said that Vishal, another accused in the case, reached Rassana after which he raped the girl along with five others, besides helping in disposing of the body on January 17 after she was killed.

Many in the village had claimed that Vishal had appeared in an examination in Meerut and showed the attendance sheet allegedly bearing his signatures. The crime branch sent the attendance sheet for forensic examination and it was found that the signatures had been forged.

“We identified three students but all were already in custody over some medical scam in one of the colleges in Meerut. We will take their custody later,” the official said.

In the charge sheet, the crime branch said “in the course of investigation, it transpired that the accused Vishal actively took part in the rape-and-murder of the victim, has tried to create an alibi by resorting to manipulation of records and creation of false evidence with the connivance and assistance of his father and relative Kishore, chairman of the college R P Singh and some other employees of a university in Meerut who as per the inputs have received huge amount as a kickback from Sanjhi Ram”.

It said the investigation also showed that on the following day, the juvenile was apprehended and taken to police station for questioning, Sanjhi Ram visited him and directed him not to disclose the involvement of his son and promised him that he would get him cleared from the charges at the earliest.

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