The supreme court direction asking Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure the victim’s family and their lawyer are provided with adequate protection so as to have in them a sense of security in order to have their fearless participation in the trial: Case regarding the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl.
The direction came after the council, Deepika S Rajawat, filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking for the protection of the family and for hers, citing the hostility and polarization-as a reason- between the two communities in Jammu and Kathua, where lawyers made an attempt to stop police from filing the charge sheet.
The Bar members in Kathua were brazen to an extent that they announced the accused persons would be provided with free legal aid, though, they retracted their statement after huge public resentment and shame.
The statements made by the accused, mentioned in the charge sheet, testifies that eight persons along with a minor boy have brutally raped, starved and killed the girl.
The Bar, police and the local Hindu community including a guardian of a holy place- the temple- which was used for this heinous crime is evident to the fact that the environment radical forces have created for Muslims particularly the weaker sections-the vulnerable class of the sect- is fraught with risk and fear.
The rape and murder of a minor nomadic girl cannot be seen in isolation but cases of minor harassments, apparently, had been a new normal in the area as is eloquently clear from the fact that lawyers, police, religious leaders are hand in glove with each other against Muslims, living in the neighborhood. The media trial actually brought this case to the limelight, by default helped the victim’s family to have them, in this case, a huge public support and the support of Indian civil society, which otherwise may have been tempered with and made it a case of no major significance.
Immediately after the family of the victim in the beginning of January- this year- raised an alarm when the minor girl went missing, the local police responded with coercive methods and the entire community was ruthlessly beaten reinforcing the idea that the incidents of violence against them have either begun or would have intensified if the incident would have not been highlighted this way.
The text and the context in the charge sheet signify that the conspiracy against the Muslim community was hatched and executed in an organized way. The use of nascent legislation- Juvenile Justice Act- to protect the adult accused in the case was meticulously done, had the minor not broken down and revealed the crime details to the crime branch.
This case, if not dealt with objectivity, can open a new chapter of communal disharmony. The protection of the victim’s family and the lawyer, who pleads on their behalf, is of utmost importance.