There was a young girl who wanted to fly high but one day eight men took that hope away from her. On 10th January 2018, an 8- year-old girl was gang-raped and killed in Kathua village temple, Jammu and Kashmir. The body was found on 17th January and the reports confirmed that the victim was drugged before she was sexually assaulted. On January 22, eight accused of the crime including four cops were arrested. The cops were charged for destroying evidence and accepting a bribe for the same.
The whole incident invoked anger in the public which led to them protesting and posting about it on social media. What took all by surprise was that on 16th February, Hindu Ekta Manch(right wing self-appointed group) held a protest demanding the release of the accused and on April 16 the trail began in Kathua court in which all were plead ‘not guilty’. Later the case was transferred to a special court in Pathankot. After many trials, the court gave the verdict on June 10, 2019.
The key accused was Sanji Ram who was a retired revenue officer and a priest of the temple where the crime took place. Along with him there were 7 other people, Parvesh Kumar who was a friend of Sanji Ram’s nephew, helped him kidnap the girl and Deepak Khajuria who was special police were given life imprisonment and were also fined Rs 1 lakh each. They were held guilty under sections 302[murder], 376[rape] and 120B[criminal conspiracy] of the Ranbir Penal Code that is used in J&K. The other three were sub-inspector Anand Dutta, special police officer Surender Verma and head constable Tilak Raj who was sentenced to five years in jail and were guilty under RPC Section 201 for the destruction of evidence.
The special court acquitted Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram due to lack of evidence and the eighth accused, a juvenile who will be tried in a juvenile court. After the verdict the dead girl’s father said to TOI, “Justice has been done though but we don’t know how Snaji Ram’s son went free. We miss the sweet soul that we lost. All we can now do is hope for her peace.”
Though this is just one case that has been solved, there are many other cases in India that are still pending in the court. The worst thing to know is that there are many such rape cases which aren’t even registered and reported.
There has been a rise in crimes against women especially minors in the last few years, for instance, a 10-year-old girl from Bhopal was raped and killed, two-and-a-half-year-old girl murdered in Aligarh, 7-year-old girl allegedly raped by a 20-year-old neighbour, 11-year-old raped in Meerut’s Khedi village, 15-year-old girl was raped by two men in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in Bhopal.
For how long is India going to witness more such heinous crimes of rape? Will the right kind of justice be delivered?