Hyderabad: The accused in the sensational rape of a Dalit minor girl at Chaderghat in the city, Mohd Shakeel, has took part in rallies and protests, demanding justice for the eight-year-old girl, who was abducted, raped and brutally murdered at Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January, 2018.

After Shakeel’s arrest two days ago, the incident came under severe condemnation, as the girl was an orphan and staying with her uncle’s family for livelihood. It was found that Shakeel had been harassing the girl under the pretext of love for the last few weeks, but she did not accept his proposal. Three days ago, when the girl woke up for nature’s call, Shakeel barged into her house and raped her.

Amid rumours that politicians were trying to cover up the case and get Shaakeel out of it, Chaderghat police registered a case against him under charges of rape, threatening, wrongful trespass and under POCSO and SC & ST Atrocities Act. He was arrested and produced before the court.

After his arrest, pictures of Shakeel taking part in the protests and candle light rallies in support of the rape victim in Kathua surfaced. They were widely circulated on the social media.

The victim in the Kathua incident belonged to the nomadic Bakarwal community and had disappeared for a week before her body was discovered by the villagers a km away from the village.

The incident hit headlines in national media when charges were filed against eight men in April, 2018. The arrest of the accused led to protests by the Panthers Party, along with other local groups.

One of the protests, in support of the accused, was attended by two ministers of the BJP, both of whom later resigned. The rape and murder, as well as the support the accused received, sparked widespread outrage.

The case was put to a fast track court and in June, 2019, six of the seven accused were convicted and one was found not guilty.

Later in October, last year, a court ordered an FIR to be registered against six members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the case, for allegedly torturing and forcing witnesses to give false statements, supporting the accused.

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