SRINAGAR: The family and lawyer of the Kathua rape and murder victim on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court judgement to shift trial in the case to Pathankot in Punjab, terming it the “first victory” for ensuring justice to the girl. The lawyer of the accused said they would be filing a fresh petition in the apex court to demand a CBI probe.“We are very happy with the shifting of trial of the case from Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab,” said father of the eight-year-old minor. “We had apprehensions that free trial cannot be held in Kathua in view of prevailing situation there,” he added.
The minor girl was abducted, gang-raped and murdered in Rasana village of Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January this year. J&K Police Crime Branch has arrested eight persons including a former revenue officer, his son, juvenile nephew and four policemen for their involvement in the incident.
The victim’s father said the court should award death sentence to all accused for the brutal murder. “The perpetrators have no place in the civilised society and they should be awarded death sentence as early as possible,” he said.
The victim’s lawyer, Deepika Rajawat, said they were happy with the judgement. When pointed that Pathankote is closer to Kathua, she said, “It is not that closer to Kathua. We had suggested Reasi and Ramban in the state but the SC decided to shift the trial to Pathankote taking into consideration the convenience of the accused too.”
On Supreme Court ordering fast trial of the case, Deepika said, “Fast trial has elements of fair trial. A fair trial will have day-to-day hearing, monitoring and protection of victims. What have been said today by the Supreme Court are elements of fair trial. We hope fair trial will take place.”She said the court has rejected the demand for CBI probe by the accused, their families and lawyers.
Ankur Sharma, lawyer of five of the accused, said their main concern was not the shifting of case, but the CBI probe. “After today’s order, we have a remedy, of filing a fresh petition. We will file a new petition in the SC in the next two weeks to seek a CBI probe,” he said.Sharma denied that Monday’s judgement was a setback. “The court has called for fast trial of the case on a day-to-day basis. We are hopeful that trial of the case will be completed in a year now,” he said.