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Kathua Rape Case: Court Convicts 6 in Child Rape and Murder Case in Jammu and Kashmir

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Kathua Rape Case, Jammu and Kashmir: An Indian court today convicted six men of involvement in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir last year. The Kathua Rape Case sparked a country-wide outrage after a large section of people defended the rape accused and called the rape as fabricated.

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The girl from a nomadic Muslim community that roams the forests of Jammu and Kashmir, was drugged, held captive in a temple and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and mauled to death with a stone in January 2018.

The abduction, rape and killing of the child was part of a plan to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, the 15-page charge sheet said. Among those accused were a Hindu priest and police officers, fanning communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the area.

“This is a victory of truth,” prosecution lawyer M. Farooqi told reporters outside the court. “The girl and her family members have got justice today. We are satisfied with the judgment.”

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The prosecution was seeking the death penalty for three men — priest Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar — who were convicted of rape and murder, he said. Three others, Surinder Kumar, Tilak Raj and Anand Dutta, were convicted of lesser crimes of destroying evidence.

A lawyer leading the legal team representing the accused, AK Sawhney, told reporters they planned to appeal the verdict. The case shocked India, which has a bad record for violence against women and girls and led to the introduction of the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12.

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The Indian top court shifted the trial to the neighbouring state of Punjab after the girl’s family and lawyer said they faced death threats, and local lawyers and politicians held protests against police filing charges in court.

In total there are eight people accused of involvement in the case. The seventh man, named as Vishal, was found not guilty on Monday, Farooqi said, while the eighth, a juvenile, is currently awaiting trial.

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