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Kathua rape case: Death penalty for convicts? Arguments begin on quantum of sentence

Crime News, Nation, (Jammu & Kashmir), June 10:- The Defence lawyers in the case are arguing over the quantum of punishment. The judge will pronounce the quantum of sentence very shortly today.

The accused face minimum life imprisonment and maximum death penalty. The court also framed charges of destruction of evidence and causing hurt by poisoning under Section 328 of the RPC. The two policemen — Raj and Datta — were also charged under Section 161 (public servant taking illegal gratification) of the RPC.

The case had become a bone of contention between the then ruling alliance partners PDP and the BJP after two ministers of the saffron party, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, participated in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the accused arrested by the state crime branch.

According to the 15-page charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death. The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in Punjab, about 100km from Jammu and 30km from Kathua, after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.

Six of seven accused on trial for the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua have been convicted. Among those convicted are main accused Sanji Ram, Parvesh Kumar, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, and head constable Tilak Raj. Sanji Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra is the only one to have been let off due to lack of evidence

Meanwhile, People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the judgement saying, “High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8-year-old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment.”

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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