The Kathua rape and murder case shocked the nation and it’s trial begins on Monday.Th trial is against eight accused who allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.The accused include a juvenile against whom a separate charge sheet was filed.
The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will be committing one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law. The chief judicial magistrate will, however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act, according to officials.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Jammu Bar association as well as the Kathua Bar received a rap on the kuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13 as the apex court took a strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case.
Meanwhile demonstrations were held ll across the country, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Goa and Bhopal on Sunday as public outrage over a spate of rape and murder of children spiral. Over the last two weeks, two cases have shaken the nation.
Thousands joined in marches, carrying placards and forming human chains in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, and across Kerala. Protests were also held in Rajasthan’s Ajmer, Gujarat’s Surat, Punjab capital Chandigarh, and Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
Nearly 2,000 protesters, including activists who participated in the “Not In My Name” protests last year, gathered at Parliament Street in the heart of Delhi. Swati Maliwal, the chief of Delhi Women’s Commission, announced a hunger strike.
In Mumbai, a section of Bollywood, including actor Priyanka Chopra and producer Ekta Kapoor asked fans to join the protests, which started at Carter Road in Bandra area. “Everyone should come. Whatever religion, gender or belief you belong to. For humanity, for justice,” Ekta Kapoor tweeted.
In an open letter, a group of 49 former civil servants have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to the families of the children targeted in Kathua and Unnao and “seek their forgiveness”.