Lawyers at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, held a protest as the police filed a chargesheet against seven people accused of kidnapping, rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in January, news agency GNS reported.
On March 20, a 60-year-old man, who had allegedly planned the crimes, surrendered to the crime branch.
“We have filed a chargesheet against seven accused persons and a chargesheet against a juvenile person will be filed separately,” Inspector General of Police (Crime) Syed Afadul Mujtaba told the news agency. “There was some resistance and that has been tackled.”
The Crime Branch has arrested eight people in the case so far, including the alleged mastermind identified as Sanji Ram and his son.
The Bar Association of Kathua reportedly released a statement against the filing of the chargesheet. “All the members of the Bar condemn the conduct of the Crime Branch in dealing with the issue,” the statement said. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised the protest. “Shame on them [protesting lawyers] and their political masters,” Abdullah tweeted.
The brutal rape and murder had sparked protests across the state, with several groups demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry. In February, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had arrested a special police officer in connection with the case. A police constable and a sub-inspector were also arrested after the Crime Branch found they had allegedly tried to destroy evidence of the crime.
Ram, 60, a former government official, allegedly planned the crime to terrorist the Gujjar Muslim community living in Rasana. He surrendered to the Crime Branch on March 20, but not before participating in protests organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch against the police officer’s arrest, according to Rising Kashmir.
In March, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti rejected the demand for a CBI inquiry, saying the Crime Branch had already completed “over 95%” of the investigation.