Juvenile board, cops at odds on Kathua trial
The Juvenile Justice Board has framed charges against one of the accused in last year’s gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua, Jammu, although the police have challenged his claim of being a minor in the high court.
The Juvenile Justice Board, Kathua, has fixed Monday for the start of the trial and served a notice on the police’s crime branch, asking it to present evidence and witnesses.
Three men were sentenced to life last month for the January 2018 barbarity, three were awarded five years for destroying evidence, and one was acquitted. An eighth accused claimed he was a minor.
The crime branch told Jammu and Kashmir High Court last year that the chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting the age claim by the eighth accused.
It also annexed a report by a medical board from the Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21”.
According to the Juvenile Justice Board notice, the charges were framed on July 8 and “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence.… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/witnesses,” it said.
The brutality on the Muslim girl had deepened the communal divide in the state, more so with many lawyers and politicians in Jammu protesting against the arrest of the accused.