Cop arrested for rape and murder of 8-year-old nomad girl in Jammu

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In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch has arrested a Special Police Officer (SPO) for alleged rape and murder of eight-year-old tribal nomad girl in Hiranagar area of Kathua district in Jammu division last month.

SPO Deepak Khajuria was arrested after SIT got a clinching evidence about his alleged involvement in the case.

Sources said the motive to kill the girl was to instill fear among the tribal community in the area. This is the second arrest in the high profile case that has shaken Jammu and Kashmir.

Police had arrested a teenager before the case was shifted to Crime Branch.

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Body of the eight-year-old girl was found near the jungles at Rasana village of Hiranagar in Kathua district on January 17, a week after she went missing near her home in Kota village.

The family of the girl had alleged that she was abducted, held captive for a week and raped before she was murdered, given the nature of wounds on her body.

“Local guys are involved. There is no outsider. She was murdered, the girl was raped. She was raped,” the maternal uncle of the girl had said.

The nomad girl had gone missing on January 10. The family said they couldn’t trace her after searching the entire area. On January 17, her body was found deep inside bushes – more than a kilometre from her home. There were serious injuries on her face and the body.

Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Revenue, Hajj and Auqaf and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri on Friday informed the Legislative Assembly that an SIT has been constituted by Crime Branch to investigate the murder of the minor girl.

The minister was responding to the Calling Attention Notice moved by MY Tarigami in the Legislative Assembly in this regard.

“SIT comprises Peerzada Naveed Ahmad, Additional SP Crime Branch Kashmir, Shwetambari Sharma, Dy SP Crime Branch Jammu, Nissar Hussain Dy SP Crime Branch Jammu, SI Urfan Wani of Crime Branch Jammu and ASI Tariq Ahmad of Crime Branch, Kashmir”, he said.

Veeri said the team is taking requisite steps for collection of evidence connected with the crime and criminal to finalise the case.

“Thorough investigation will be conducted and the strict action will be taken against the culprits”, he said.

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