NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir state government seeking a reply on the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in J&K's Kathua. The top court directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide police protection to the victim's family and their counsel Deepika S Rajawat.
"The Supreme Court has issued directions to the authorities to provide protection to us (victim family and their counsel)," said Deepika S Rajawat, Counsel of the Kathua rape victim.
The development comes shortly after the father of the girl moved the apex Court seeking safety and security. He also demanded that the case, which has led to a country-wide uproar, be shifted to a court outside Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising who is appearing for the victim's father, told the top court that the atmosphere is not conducive to a fair trial. "The atmosphere is highly polarised," said Indira Jaising.
"The state police had done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on a scientific basis," she added.
Approaching the apex court earlier on Monday, the father of the eight-year-old girl demanded in his plea that the case should be transferred to Chandigarh, claiming that the trial might get influenced in Jammu. The victim's father further demanded that the trial must be put on hold unless the case is transferred out of Jammu.
The plea further says that politicians must be stopped from meeting the juvenile accused in the case and that the status report of the case should be submitted before the Supreme Court as the case proceeds.
This came as the trial in the case had begun in the rape and murder case on Monday. The court was, however, adjourned soon after the hearing began as the defence claimed that the Jammu and Kashmir Police had not provided a copy of the chargesheet to them.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for April 28.
The victim’s father had moved the Supreme Court after his lawyer, Deepika Singh Rajawat, claimed threat to her life. She claimed that she feared getting raped or killed following threats.
"I don't know till when I will be alive. I can be raped, my modesty can be outraged, I can be killed, I can be damaged. I was threatened that 'we will not forgive you'. I am going to tell SC that I am in danger," Deepika had said.
An eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic community had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in Rasana forest in Kathua's Hiranagar area. Her body was found a week later. Police investigations revealed she was held captive inside a temple, sedated and repeatedly raped before her murder.