After several obstacles, a special court in Pathankot, Punjab on Monday convicted six people accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in a district of Jammu and Kashmir named Kathua.
The in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3. Six of the seven accused were convicted. The verdict was announced today by the district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh. Three key accused in the gangrape-and-murder of the girl from Kathua were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The key accused, Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place and the two civilian, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, have been sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs 1 lakh each for murder. Another three accused cops, Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj, and special police officer Surender Verma, have been handed over five years imprisonment. While the seventh accused who claimed to be a juvenile, Vishal, son of main accused Sanji Ram, has been let off by the court, due to lack of evidence.
The key accused were held guilty of kidnapping, murder, rape, and common intention. The three policemen were convicted for destruction of evidence.
As per the charge sheet, On 10, January 2018, an eight-year-old nomadic girl was abducted while grazing the family cattle. An FIR was missing was filed after two days on the complaint of the victim’s father at Hiranagar police station.
As told by the Crime branch to the media, ‘She was gang-raped by a group of men in a temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days. After a week, she was found dead. Of them, a juvenile arranged her kidnapping and ultimately killed her. Her rape and murder were confirmed later by a post mortem.’
The eight-year-old girl belonged to Bakarwal tribe went missing in Rasana village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.
Reports said that ‘She was allegedly raped repeatedly at a local temple in Kathua, a district of Jammu. It is believed that the anti-anxiety drug dosage administered the girl was so strong was that it kept her hanging by a thread for days and allegedly strangulated her before she was actually killed.’
The Kathua rape-murder case shook the nation earlier and provoked a major outrage in India. The case has brought back the focus on rape and murder cases happening every now and then. The verdict came as a breather for the criminal justice delivery system. But even now, the mounting anger and tensions arising from heinous crimes against women refuse to die down.
Impact of Kathua Rape and Murder Case
The first question that comes to mind is what leads to such incidents. Rape cases have become endemic in Indian society. Excuses are always found for men behaving in this way towards women. Instead of making men accept their responsibility for their actions, often environmental factors or cultural differences are blamed. Rape is used as a weapon to humiliate, overpower, oppress, and conquer women. Forcing a woman gives men a sense of power and validates their manhood. Rejection or ignorance makes them feel insulted enough to use rape as a form of revenge. Men who experienced a home life where females were disrespected or men with poor self-worth are convinced that no woman would voluntarily sleep with them usually express their masculinity with such actions to humiliate women. Also, modern technology like the internet and pornography has been believed to precipitate lust in men.
Women are being looked at as sexual objects, their feelings and emotions ignored. The males are still compartmentalizing women and viewing them stereotypically. Often women are asked to hide such acts due to shame rather than fighting for it. Given this attitude to women, is it any wonder that they are often violated and abused by some males? The low status of women in Indian society has lead to such indecent behaviors.
This is having an adverse impact on the situation of women as well as Indian society. A sense of disbelief and horror has been resonated amongst all decent, thinking human beings. This barbaric act has revealed the ugly truth of patriarchal society. The situation is getting ugly and pathetic. A year after this brutal case, violence still continues. Rape in no way is acceptable behavior or could be defended. For a society to stay immune to such heinous acts, there should be streamlined some strict actions against accused from the government. Movements such as Me-Too need to be implemented to make a dent on society. Slut shaming and victim blaming should be resisted. Object the belief of masculinity that defines sexual aggression as a credible quality for men to strive toward, instead raise them with appropriate values.