The trial in the Kathua rape and murder case against the eight accused men began on Monday. All the eight accused, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram, was produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate in Kathua under tight security of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force.
According to the police, in January, the eight-year-old from the minority Bakerwal nomadic community was allegedly held in captivity in a temple in Jammu's Kathua district for over a week, put under sedation, raped, and later, killed. The apex court took strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case saying such impediments "affect the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice".
The Supreme Court has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the 8-year-old Kathua gangrape victim and their lawyer as well as family friends assisting them in the case.
The bench then agreed to hear the petitions at 2 PM today itself.
Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat told the court that she had been threatened with rape and death for taking up the case. Immediately after the brief hearing in the sessions court, the seven accused were shifted back to the jail under heavy security.
As the trial began inside the court, main accused Sanji Ram's daughter Madhu Sharma protested outside, demanding a CBI probe. Jangotra, who was studying in a college in Uttar Pradesh, travelled to Kathua allegedly to participate in the crime.
SC also seeks reply of J&K govt on Kathua rape and murder case plea filed by victim's father by April 27.
The Jammu High Court Bar Association, along with other local Bar associations, had called for a Jammu bandh on 11 April, alleging the police was targeting the Dogra Hindu community by filing a chargesheet against a few members of the community.
Shalu Nigam, an advocate participating in the march, said it was "shocking" to see the lawyer representing the victim's family being harassed. A separate chargesheet was filed for the juvenile.
"In the absence of any allegation, why should we enter into this as to who should investigate", a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra said, adding that it was "the primary duty of the state police to investigate a case".