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Gang rape suspects demand drug tests

Lawyer representing family of Kathua victim says she has received death threats

Gulf News

New Delhi: The eight people accused in the horrific Kathua rape and murder case on Monday pleaded not guilty and asked the district judge to order a narcotics test to be carried out on them.

As the trial began, the district and sessions judge asked the Crime Branch to give copies of the charge sheet to the accused.

According to the charge sheet filed by the Crime Branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the nomadic community of Bakarwals from Kathua.

Meanwhile, the father of the eight-year-old victim on Monday requested the Supreme Court (SC) to transfer the trial to Chandigarh, citing lack of security for his family.

“We are apprehensive that the trial will not happen peacefully, seeing the condition in Jammu ... seeing that lawyers opposed it in Kathua and did not let the charge sheet proceed. We don’t think there is conducive atmosphere in Kathua for the trial,” the family’s lawyer Deepika S. Rajawat told journalists.

Rajawat said she would approach the apex court separately to request protection as there was a threat to her life.

“I fear I can be killed. I don’t know how long I will be alive. I can be raped. My modesty can be outraged. I can be damaged. I was threatened yesterday that ‘we will not forgive you’. I am going to tell the Supreme Court that I am in danger,” Rajawat told media.

The little girl was kidnapped on January 10, repeatedly gang-raped and killed by a group of men whose motive was to drive her nomadic Bakerwal community out of Kathua.

According to the charge sheet, she was starved the entire time and kept sedated till her mutilated body was found on January 17. Before she was strangled, one of the men, a police officer, insisted on raping her one more time.

The culprits were all Hindus and the girl belonged to the Bakerwal Muslim community. Eight men have so far been arrested but Hindu groups have rushed to their defence.

The caretaker of small temple ‘Devisthan’ is listed as the main conspirator behind the crime. Of the eight people accused of the crime, one is a juvenile who is also under arrest. He moved a bail application before a judicial magistrate which will be heard on Tuesday.

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