J&K: 8-year-old Kathua Victim Was Like my Grand-daughter, Sanji Ram Demands ‘Fair Trial’

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New Delhi, May 5: Sanji Ram, prime accused in the Kathua gangrape case, on Friday claimed innocence and told the Supreme Court that the eight-year-old victim was a grand-daughter to him. Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the months-old Kathua gangrape case to find the “real culprits”, Sanji Ram said that he was being framed by the police officers.

Ram’s request, in the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, has been repeated by his son Vishal. Except for demanding justice for the eight-year-old Kathua girl, the affidavit also demanded a “fair treatment” for the accused.

Sanji Ram also demanded that security of Deepika Singh Rajawat, lawyer of the accused, be removed as she was not a lawyer in the trial court. Rajawat had earlier approached the Supreme Court regarding the threat to her life. “I don’t know how long I will be alive. I can be raped…I can be killed, I can be damaged. I was threatened yesterday that ‘we will not forgive you’. I am going to tell the Supreme Court tomorrow that I am in danger,” she had said.

In January this year, an eight-year-old girl from the Bakarwal community was kidnapped, drugged and kept in the temple managed by Sanji Ram. She was repeatedly drugged and gangraped. The eight-year-old had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses.

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On January 14, she was strangulated and also bludgeoned to death to make sure she was dead. A police sub-inspector, a head constable, and two special police officers have also been charged for taking a bribe to destroy the evidence.

The investigation into the Kathua rape case stated that the sole motive behind the brutal gangrape and murder of the eight-year-old girl was to drive away the Muslim Bakarwal community from the Hiranagar tehsil. The chargesheet, submitted to the Kathua chief judicial magistrate, states that Sanji Ram, who was against the settlement of the community in Rasana Kootah and Dhamyal area of Kathua district, had planned the kidnapping of the girl to ignite a fear among the Bakarwals.

Among other reasons was the suspicion of cow slaughter by the Bakarwal community leading to the brutal assault on the eight-year-old girl.