Treat ‘rapist’ as ‘adult’, SC verdict in Kathua gang-rape and murder case

Landmark judgement by Supreme Court in the brutal Kathua gang-rape and murder case. The SC said said one of the accused in the infamous Kathua gang-rape case was not a juvenile anymore, hence be treated as an adult.

An eight-year-old girl was raped and murdered in a Kathua village of Jammu and Kashmir in 2018. The entire was scared to see the photograph of the victim who looked like a small barbie doll. However, the people who could actually help the guilty reach to their fate were largely divided and shamelessly tried to stall the proceedings. In fact, a group of lawyers in Kathua bar even tried to prevent the Crime Branch from filing chargesheet before the court. Several political leaders including some ministers in BJP-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, lawyers and civil society groups in Jammu rallied behind the accused. It was possible only after the intervention by the Supreme Court. The SC transferred the case to Pathankot.

The top court also held that medical opinion regarding the age of an accused cannot be “brushed aside” in the absence of statutory proof on the same issue. The Crime Branch which investigated the rape and murder, said Shubam Sangra was the “most brutal”.

The 8-year-old nomadic girl was kidnapped and repeatedly raped inside a temple at Rasana village in Kathua in order to infuse fear and drive the nomad community out of Kathua. The girl was drugged, held captive, repeatedly raped and then murdered.

But the main accused, Shubam Sangra could not be tried with others arrested in the case because of controversy over his age and the subsequent decision by Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua that he should be tried as a juvenile.

After the verdict of the Supreme Court, Sangra will now be treated as an adult.

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