‘Juvenile’ turns out to be adult in Kathua rape & murder case

‘Juvenile’ turns out to be adult in Kathua rape & murder case
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Crime committed to dislodge nomads from the area, SIT finds

Srinagar: The ongoing probe into the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl from the nomad community in Kathua district has found that the ‘juvenile’ arrested in the case is actually an adult.
A local news agency on Saturday quoted a source as saying that the police’s special investigation team (SIT) has also found that the motive of the heinous crime was to spread fear among the nomadic Bakerwal community who move to the plains in winters along with their livestock, so as to drive them out from Rasana village.
The minor girl, who belonged to the Gujjar community, was kidnapped when she was shepherding her horses at Rasnaa village in Kathua district on January 10. Her disfigured body was found seven days later. Police investigations established that she was raped before she was murdered. Initially, the government had claimed that a 15-year-old boy arrested in the case had confessed to the crime.
The High Court directed the Crime Branch’s special team investigating the case to ascertain the age of the accused juvenile, and subsequently a medical board was constituted by the Government Medical College Jammu.
“On the basis of physical, dental and radiological examination, the approximate age of the individual is above nineteen years,” the board said in its report.
The SIT, sources said, has submitted these details before the High Court in a status report and has stated that it seems that the police Head Constable in the area had tried to save the accused. The Head Constable was arrested on March 7.
“The role of other officials who remained associated with the initial investigation, in the destruction of material evidence, is being looked into,” the local news agency quoted anonymous sources as saying.
It said the SIT, based on witnesses conversant with the facts and circumstances of the case, has concluded that the entire game plan of the gruesome rape and murder was premeditated and the mastermind has been identified and would be arrested soon. “The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon to dislodge the Bakerwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy with (others),” the sources told the news agency.
Meanwhile, protests were held in Bhaderwah after Friday prayers for trying to communalise the case. People assembled outside the Jamia Masjid and held protest against the government.