Rape and murder of 8-year-old Kathua girl drives out nomadic Bakerwal tribe

The brutal rape and murder of a minor girl triggered early seasonal migration of the nomadic Bakerwal community from Rasana village in the border district of Kathua.

Published: 15th April 2018 08:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

The minor rape victim’s house in Rasana is now locked |Mir Imran

RASANA (KATHUA), JAMMU AND KASHMIR: The brutal rape and murder of a minor girl triggered early seasonal migration of the nomadic Bakerwal community from Rasana village in the border district of Kathua.

“For the last 40 years, migration began after Baisakhi (April 14) but this year we started early because of fear caused by the horrific rape and murder of the girl,” said 72-year-old Mohammad Jan, a resident of panchayat Kootah village adjoining Rasana. He said the community used to plan the seasonal migration keeping weather conditions in view.

“However, this year weather condition was not our priority. Our community was our safety after the incident and the community members wanted to leave the place as early as possible.”

The family of the minor girl and about 35 other Bakerwal families from Rasana, Kootah and adjoining villages have already left via the Shivalik hills. Jan said communal amity in the village changed some years back and after the rape and murder of minor girl, none from the majority community in the area visited them to express their condolence or solidarity with the family.

READ | Wanted our beautiful, intelligent daughter to become a doctor, say family of Kathua rape victim

He said Hindus of the village used to give land for pasturing to them but that stopped some years back. 
“It was at the behest of Sanji Ram, the main accused in the rape and murder case. He used to tell his community members not to give land to Bakerwals and instead give to the Hindus,” Jan said.

People take part in a candlelight march at the India Gate in
protest over Kathua gangrape case in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

The 8-year-old girl was abducted near her home in Rasana village on January 10 while she was grazing horses. Her body with torture and violence marks was recovered a week later, between the house of main accused Sanji Ram and the temple.

READ | Kerala journalist's Facebook post goes viral as he names daughter after Kathua rape victim

According to the Crime Branch of the J&K Police, the girl was kept hostage in the temple and given sedatives and raped before being killed and dumped in the area. Jan said he has not seen such a brutal killing ever. He said after the killing, the Hindu community did not allow them to bury the body of the girl in their graveyard.

“They should have stood by us in our hour of grief. But they told us to bury the girl’s body at some other place. We had to bury her in Badinal village, about 3 kms from here,” he said. Jan said because of illness, he could not migrate and was taking care of her daughter and daughter-in-law and their children.

ALSO READ | Kathua rape and murder case: Local bar association withdraws offer to contest accused's case for free

“We live in fear. When the sun sets, the fear increases and we don’t know whether we will be alive tomorrow or not,” he said.His daughter-in-law, Irshad, said she takes her infant child with her whenever she has to go to the market to purchase essentials or other commodities.

“We live in total fear,” she said. 

Stay up to date on all the latest The Sunday Standard news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.