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Kathua rape: SC asks witnesses to move J&K HC with grievances

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NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Monday told the three witnesses in the Kathua rape and murder case to approach the High Court for seeking protection from the alleged harassment and torture by the police. Three witnesses had moved the top court claiming they were tortured by the Jammu and Kashmir police before their statements were recorded.

The three witnesses are acquaintances of the accused in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old, which triggered worldwide condemnation.

The Supreme Court had transferred the case out of Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot on May 7. Ordering that the trial be fast-tracked, the Supreme Court had said the proceedings will be held every day and there will be no adjournment. The trial is closed to the press and the public as per the top court’s order.

Eight people were arrested by a Special Investigation Team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police in connection with the Kathua rape and murder case. While seven of the accused are facing trial in a court in Punjab’s Pathankot, the eighth accused is facing trial in a juvenile court in Kathua.

The Supreme Court had asked the district and sessions judge at Pathankot to personally undertake the trial proceedings and not assign it to other session judges, stating that it would monitor the progress of trial in the case and no other courts should entertain any other plea related to the matter.

A 15-page charge sheet filed by the police said the girl was kept sedated for four days before being raped and killed. It named eight accused, including the temple custodian and the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria, Surender Verma and a juvenile. (Agencies)

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