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Supreme Court asks J&K to protect victim's family, others

17 April 2018

The top court also directed the J&K government to provide police protection to the victim's family members and the counsel representing them. The protesters said that the office-bearers and members of the Jammu Bar Association "opposed and obstructed the filing of chargesheet against the accused in the case".

The father of the eight-year-old Kathua victim who was allegedly drugged, tortured, and gangraped in a village temple for a week in January 2018, had approached the Supreme Court today seeking transfer of the case outside Jammu and Kashmir. The court will hear the plea at 2pm today.

Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat told the court that she had been threatened with rape and death for taking up the case. "State police had done a good job and it not only arrested all the accused persons on evidence but also on scientific basis.", the senior lawyer told court.

The bench issued notice to the state on the petition from Mohd Akhtar, victim's father, seeking transfer of the trial outside Kathua court to a court in Chandigarh on the grounds that the atmosphere in Kathua was not conducive for fair trial. Reports suggest that the hearing in the matter are expected to run their natural course after the Supreme Court had sought explanations from the Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Council, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association over the lawyers causing obstruction in the case. He added, "we are depending on information from social media.We are handicapped".

The bench said those policemen providing security to the victim's family and others will be in plain clothes. The accused are set to be ready for narco tests as well.

The court had said on Friday that access to justice can not be obstructed, after local lawyers tried to stop filing of the chargesheet in the case last week. 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.

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. The accused kept sedating the girl for days and took turns to sexually assault her.

Supreme Court asks J&K to protect victim's family, others