Raped for days to teach a community a lesson.
In January, an eight-year-old girl was abducted, raped and murdered in Rassana village in Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir. The body of the girl from the Bakarwal community was recovered from Rassana forest in Kathua on 17 January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area. A post-mortem report indicated damage to the girl’s uterus and death due to asphyxiation. The accused — Ram, his son Vishal, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and civilian Parvesh Kumar — have been booked under various sections of Ranbir Penal Code for rape, murder and destruction of evidence. According to the crime branch investigation, the minor was held captive in a temple, using sedatives, gang-raped several times through the week and even before she was killed. The eight-year-old was gang-raped also after the mastermind “performed rituals” in the place of worship. Kathua rape-murder mastermind Sanji Ram had been “motivating” members of the Hindu community of the area to not provide Bakarwals land for grazing. As per reports, the rape was carried out to teach a lesson to the Bakarwals community. The “general impression” among the Hindu community in the tehsil was that “Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”, the chargesheet said, adding that as a result, Hindus had been “blaming the Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them”. Sanji’s co-conspirators were also “against the settlement of Bakarwals in the area” and had asked him to “chalk out a strategy for dislodging” them.
Investigators allege that Khajuria and the other police officers – some of whom lodged the complaint and accompanied the family in the search – washed Asifa’s bloodied and mud-spattered clothes before sending them to a forensic lab.