SC refuses protection to Witnesses in Kathua gangrape & murder case

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New Delhi: In an interim order on Wednesday, the Supreme Court refused to provide protection to the witnesses of the Kathua gang-rape and murder. The court’s order came in response to a petition by three witnesses in the Kathua gang-rape and murder, alleging that they were being harassed by the state police.
The Supreme Court also refused the witnesses’ plea for a change of investigating agency in the case, and has posted the matter for hearing on 17 May.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard the plea, filed by Sahil Sharma and two others, all college friends of the juvenile accused in the case. According to their plea, they had already recorded their statements before the police and the magistrate.
The three witnesses asserted that they gave their statement to the police under coercion, in a statement before the magistrate.
The petition, which the three had filed on Monday, 14 May, alleged that the state police was now asking them to re-appear and re-record their statements and exerting pressure on their families.
The apex court had on 7 May transferred the trial in Kathua gangrape from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab, but refrained from handing over the probe to the CBI saying there was no need as the investigation has been conducted and the charge-sheet filed.
The victim, from a minority nomadic community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on 10 January. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The state police has filed the main charge-sheet against seven persons and a separate charge-sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district. (Agencies)

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