SRINAGAR: The Infamous Kathua rape and murder case took a new spin on Tuesday when a local court asked the police to register an FIR against six members of Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch. They were arrested for allegedly torturing and coercing witnesses into giving false statements.
 

The order was passed by Judicial Magistrate Prem Sagar after three witnesses, Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Sahil Sharma approached the court against the SIT officers that probed the 2018 rape and murder of the eight-year-old tribal nomadic girl in Kathua.

The officers, against whom the court asked to file the FIR, include SSP Ramesh Kumar Jalla (now retired), Additional Superintendent of Police Peerzada Naveed, Deputy Superintendents of Police Shetmbari Sharma and Nissar Hussain, Sub-Inspector Urfan Wani and Kewal Kishore.
“From the gist of the complaint, cognizable offences are made out against the non-applicants herein. Therefore, application of the applicant under section 153 (3) CrPc is allowed, with the direction to SSP Jammu to register FIR against the non-applicants under relevant provisions of law and report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11,” Judge Sagar said in his order.
The body of the eight-year-old tribal nomad Bakarwal girl was found in a village of the Kathua district on January 17, 2018, a week after she went missing near her home. From being drugged to being gang-raped in a revered religious place, the bone-chilling crime had all the wicked traits of lust, hatred and revenge.
The Crime Branch had filed a charge sheet against eight people including Sanjhi Ram, a retired revenue official and the alleged mastermind of the crime, his son Vishal Jangotra and his nephew, who is a juvenile. Others accused include, Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Kumar Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Kumar, Sub Inspector of Hiranangar police station Anand Dutta and Head Constable, Tilak Raj.
In June this year, District and Sessions Judge in Pathankot, Tejwinder Singh sentenced the three main accused to life imprisonment while the three others were given five years imprisonment for the destruction of evidence. Another accused Vishal Jangotra, was acquitted in the case.
“Applicants were deliberately tortured and compelled to dispose of false statements against Vishal Jangotra thus depicting the mala fide on the part of the non-applicants, whereby, false evidence was created in pursuant to the very well hatched conspiracy by the non-applicants”, Judge Sagar said in his order.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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