362 Proof of Crime Patrol true stories ::: Terrified India Part 1 – Surat, Kathua & Unnao child rape & murder horror of India; First they rape the girl, then they kill her father

New Nirbhayas

Establishment’s callousness towards rape victims feeds cycles of outrage

It’s just as well that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lent his voice to growing outrage across the country at the horrendous violence against girls in Kathua and Unnao. His promise that justice will be delivered should be followed by stringent action against all criminals involved, including those responsible for obstructing justice – else the government’s ‘beti bachao’ slogan will ring utterly hollow. Public outrage at the crimes in Kathua and Unnao resembles the one that erupted after the 2012 Nirbhaya case, which was supposed to have been followed by course correction in the justice system. Clearly, that hope stands dispelled today.

The Unnao rape survivor faced more trauma after her father’s death in custody, her family’s exodus from their native village, and the UP police’s failure to arrest the accused BJP MLA until the Allahabad high court and CBI stepped in. In Kathua, J&K crime branch was hampered by raging protests by a Hindu Ekta Dal aided by local politicians. Both cases reflect political pressures that disrupt criminal investigations. The Nirbhaya protests were followed by a sweeping legislative response through amending rape laws. A similar trajectory is playing out again with ministers demanding death penalty for child rapists, a dangerous move giving perverse incentive to murder victims.

Parliament and assemblies have legislated for decades, but enough laws already exist to prosecute heinous crimes. The failure lies elsewhere: in registering crimes, launching serious prosecutions and delivering convictions. A related problem is political interference. Legislative changes at this point would be just a ploy by the political class to deflect public outrage. Meanwhile, police reforms enjoined by the Supreme Court have been hanging fire for more than a decade. Insulating police from political controls that influence promotions and transfers, recruiting more women cops and deploying them in special cells that investigate sexual offences, protecting witnesses, and improving forensic techniques are just some systemic reforms that are needed.

Alongside, governments must identify sexual predators among elected representatives and fast-track their cases. Being hard on one’s own sends a clear message down the line. A 2017 ADR study of 4,852 election affidavits found that three MPs and 48 MLAs faced cases of crimes against women. Further, recognised parties gave tickets to 334 such candidates instead of shunning them. If political parties’ professions following Kathua and Unnao are genuine, they could start by cleaning up their own backyards.

RAPE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BJP MLA

Victim’s father dies while in custody, 6 cops suspended

The woman blamed Kuldeep Singh Sengar for the death, while he refuted allegations, calling the complainant ‘low- class’

#UNNAO

The father of an 18-year-old woman, who had alleged rape by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brothers, died in custody here on Monday, prompting her to put the blame on the lawmaker, who rejected the charge as a conspiracy and said the complainant was “low class.” The woman’s father was allegedly roughed up by the accused MLA’s brother and accomplices a few days back and sustained multiple injuries.

The alleged victim’s father, aged around 50, was rushed to a hospital from the district jail on Sunday and died during treatment today. He was arrested on April 5 under the Arms Act, police officials said. The news of his death spread like wildfire with opposition parties slamming the BJP government even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promised action against the guilty.

“The incident is unfortunate. The additional DGP, Lucknow, has been asked to give his report and probe the matter, and if any policeman is found guilty, action will be taken. None will be spared,” Adityanath said.

District magistrate Ravi Kumar NG said the postmortem examination of the victim would be conducted by a panel of doctors to ascertain the exact cause of death.

The victim, however, claimed her family had received threats in the past and accused the MLA.

“(He was) killed at the behest of the BJP MLA. inside the jail. We were getting threats and they killed my father,” she added while speaking to reporters.

SP of Unnao, Pushpanjali said four accused six policemen, including SHO Makhi Ashok Kumar Singh, outpost incharge and four beat constables have been suspended.

UP DGP O P Singh said a Lucknow Police team had been constituted to probe the entire matter.

The woman had on Sunday tried to immolate herself near Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow, alleging rape by the BJP MLA and his brothers. The immolation bid was, however, foiled by the police. She had alleged that the Unnao police had not registered a case against the BJP MLA despite her complaint and no action was taken, police said.

Attacking the government, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet, “In UP, a girl, going for coaching classes is being shot dead…Another girl accusing BJP MLA of gangrape tried to immolate herself in front of CM’s residence . Is this fear of government of ‘encounter’ that instead of criminals, woman are getting terrified?(sic)”

Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi said, “The death inside a jail is mysterious. Had the government and the administration not worked under the pressure of the BJP MLA, the death could have been avoided. We demand a high-level probe.”

Sengar maintained the allegations against him were part of a conspiracy. “They belong to a low status family (‘nimn star ke log hain’). This is a conspiracy by my opponents. If I am found guilty in the probe, I am ready to face punishment,” he said. PTI

The victim tried to immolate herself in front of CM Yogi Adityanath’s residence on Sunday, but was foiled by cops; inset: Kuldeep Singh Sengar

Minor’s rape and murder in Surat

11 days on, cops don’t even know victim’s name

The girl’s body was found in Surat’s Bhestan area close to the highway on April 5, and the postmortem revealed the victim was kept confined for four to five days and was sexually assaulted. The body bore 76 injury marks, and the torso, back, limbs, and private parts were covered in wounds.

The incident has added to nationwide outrage in the wake of minor girls’ rapes in Unnao and Kathua. While the Surat Police have announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for information on the girl or her family, a local developer, Tushar Ghelani, said he’ll pay Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing information regarding the victim. The police have put up1,200 posters in Surat and another 1,000 banners in North Gujarat seeking information about the victim, and as many as 20 teams of Gujarat Police are investigating the case.

The Surat police commissioner, Satish Sharma, said his teams conducted door-to-door checks in the 4-km radius from where the body was found. “CCTV footages of the surrounding areas have also been collected and is being examined. There are indications that the actual crime was committed at another location and the body was disposed of at a different location. We are also examining the possibility of the crime having been committed outside Surat. Data of 8,000 missing girls in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra has already been scanned but it has not revealed any clue about the identity of the victim,” Sharma said.

He said the victim could be from Orissa or its neighbouring states. “Photographs of the victim have been sent to the police in Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and other states,” Sharma said.

“Primary report of the post-mortem indicates that there were 76 injuries on the body, and she was subjected to sexual assault over a period of four to five days,”he said.

The Surat Crime Branch ACP, RR Sarvaiya, added that the nature of the injuries indicated the victim may have been beaten up using wooden sticks, broken glass, and iron rods. Minister of State for Home, Gujarat, Pradipsinh Jadeja, said help from the Centre will also be sought.

Columnist, writer, and art curator Anupa Mehta said Surat assault, which comes in the wake of the Kathua and Unnao rapes, was another red light indicating the Indian society was “in a state of absolute disrepair”. There is no place left for basic human values, leave alone ideals and hopes. Power brokers are clearly so powerless that they need to snuff out helpless young lives in order to draw attention to themselves through misdemeanours that go beyond mere crime. An analysis of India over the past few years may indicate just how fragmented and polarised we have become as a society,” Mehta said.

The leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, slammed the state government over increasing number of rapes and diminishing gender ratio in Gujarat. “In 2011, the sex ratio was 919 females to 1,000 males which has reduced to mere 854 females in 2017. It seems that daughters are scared of coming out of the womb in Gujarat,” he said.

Political activist Hardik Patel said that the Surat incident further highlighted the deteriorating law and order in Gujarat. “This is the actual reflection of the Gujarat Model. The police and the government have become helpless and the public needs to come out for justice,” he said.

Protest in Surat yesterday over an 11-year-old girl’s rape and murder on April 5

Asifa’s family to move SC for trial outside J&K

Farooq Abdullah bats for bill to award capital punishment to rapists of minors

#SRINAGAR

Deepika Rajawat, the counsel of the family of eight-year-old Asifa, who was raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district plans to move the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking the transfer of the case outside the state, sources said.

The plea comes amid alleged political interference in the case and protests in favour of the rape accused.

Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat along with the tribal activist Talib Hussain, who is spearheading the movement for justice for Asifa, are camping in Delhi, and meeting senior lawyers of Supreme Court regarding the case.

“We are apprehensive that the trial will not happen peacefully, seeing the condition in Jammu… Seeing that lawyers opposed it in Kathua and did not let the chargesheet proceed,” a source close to the family said.

The massive outcry over the horrific rape of the child sent political tremors in the state, as two BJP lawmakers in the Mehbooba Mufti government – Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga -were forced to resign from their posts for attending a rally that was organised in support of the rape accused. Their resignations were accepted by Mufti on Sunday, who forwarded it to the state Governor.

‘Resigned on moral grounds’

Chaudhary Lal Singh reportedly claimed that they had attended the rally on the orders of BJP state president Sat Sharma to diffuse tension during the public gathering.

“I gave resignation on moral values. If someone is hurt because of me, I have no right to remain in that post, that is why I resigned. I also said that one must live by their conscience, and my conscience did not approve that violence and riots are caused just for the resignation of two ministers,” Singh told the media.

Singh also upheld demands for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)-led enquiry, contending that it would give clarity to all.

Farooq Abdullah demands law for death to rapists of minors

Opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday demanded a special session of the J&K Legislative Assembly to bring in a bill to award capital punishment to those who rape minors.

“Capital punishment must be brought in for such cases,” Abdullah told reporters.

“She (Asifa) is just like my daughter. Thank God, the nation has woken up and they have taken it very seriously. I hope justice will be done and we will bring a bill in the Assembly session wherein (if) any such incident takes place, the hanging must be brought in,” he said.

Abdullah was speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting of NC’s provincial committee for Kashmir province at the party headquarters in Nawa-e-Subha.

As thousands came together to stand in solidarity with the families of the Kathua and Unnao victims, the demand for a severe punishment for the violators of the child and the girl reverberated across the nation. Massive protests were registered in various cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad among others

‘Sengar’s goons are threatening villagers’

#UNNAO

Family of the 17-year-old rape victim on Sunday alleged that “goons” of accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar were threatening villagers to keep quiet in the case.

“Yesterday, they went there in two cars and threatened them to keep quiet and cut ties with me or be prepared to be ousted from the village. Two people are already missing,” said the uncle of the victim.

On Friday, the CBI arrested Sengar for allegedly raping the teen in June last year. ANI

Bar Council to send panel to Kathua

#NEW DELHI

A five-member committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) will visit Kathua and submit a factual report on the case.

The panel will visit the state and reach out to the bar associations of Jammu and Kathua and also meet the affected families to figure out what actually transpired, BCI chief Mishra said.

“I was given full assurance of an immediate end to the lawyers’ strike,” he said adding that the BCI was told that the protests were not to defend the accused but were instead focused against certain laws passed by the state.

Rape allegations against Unnao MLA

 SIT to probe charges, death of girl’s father

In apparent damage control, cops arrest Kuldeep Singh Senger’s brother

#LUCKNOW

A day after the father of the girl, who had accused BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Senger and his brothers of raping her, died in police custody, the Uttar Pradesh police set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the allegations and custodial death.

The development comes on a day the MLA’s brother, Atul Singh Sengar, was arrested in Unnao.

Additional Director General (ADG, law and order) Anand Kumar said that the SIT, which will be headed by the SP, Crime, of Lucknow, will look “into the entire gamut of allegations… from the beginning of the issue in June last year (which is when the 18-year-old first complained of rape by Unnao MLA Kuldeep Singh)”.

Sources said that embarrassed by the developments, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has rolled out a damage control action plan, which include ordering the SIT probe, arrest of the BJP legislator’s brother and a parallel magisterial inquiry.

Apart from Atul Singh, police have arrested four of his aides — Baua, Vineet, Shailu and Sonu. Six policemen, including station house officer of Makhi, have been also suspended.

“Atul Singh was arrested over charges of beating the girl’s father to death in police custody. The arrest was made in Kanpur based on the orders of Director General of Police OP Singh,” an officer said.

The girl’s father was being forced to withdraw the case against the MLA. Upon refusal, he was picked up by the police late on Sunday and was allegedly roughed up in custody by Atul Singh and his aides.

He was taken to the district hospital with 18 wounds and gashes, abdominal pain and vomiting. He died soon after. The rape survivor had tried to immolate herself in front of the Uttar Pradesh CM’s residence on Sunday.

The incident triggered a political storm and public outrage in the state. A magisterial probe has also been ordered by the district administration.

Adityanath has also asked Additional Director General of Police Rajeev Krishna to investigate the matter and has promised stern action against all perpetrators. He said no one, however mighty, will be spared.

Kuldeep Singh had earlier trashed the allegations as a “conspiracy” hatched by his opponents. He had also dismissed the complainant as belonging to “low status”. AGENCIES

BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Senger and his brothers allegedly raped the 18-year-old last year

Kathua minor’s rape-murder was over cow slaughter, say J&K cops

New Delhi: The J&K Police chargesheet in the Kathua rape and murder of a minor girl has said that the mastermind instigated his juvenile nephew and six others to execute the ghastly act to drive out the nomadic Muslim community of Bakarwals from Hiranagar tehsil.

Bakarwals, a tribe that moves through seasons in the Pir Panjal range of J&K, are mainly shepherds.

The chargesheet submitted to the chief judicial magistrate, Kathua, late on Monday night said Sanji Ram, the mastermind, was “against the settlement” of Bakarwals in the tehsil, and had been “motivating” members of the Hindu community of the area to not provide them land for grazing. His co-conspirators were also “against the settlement of Bakarwals in the area” and had asked him to “chalk out a strategy for dislodging” them.

The “general impression” among the Hindu community in the tehsil was that “Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”, the chargesheet said, adding that as a result, Hindus had been “blaming the Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them”.

This rivalry between the two communities in the area has resulted into registration of FIRs and counter-FIRs at various police stations of the area, the chargesheet said.

According to the crime branch investigation, the minor was held captive in a temple, using sedatives, gangraped several times through the week and even before she was killed. The eight-year-old was gang-raped also after the mastermind “performed rituals” in the place of worship.

The crime has triggered communal tension in the state, with many lawyers in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region protesting against police and demanding a CBI investigation. Two of the BJP leaders have also supported the lawyers.

2 sex workers ‘jump’ to death during raid

Mumbai: A police raid in a Grant Road building resulted in the death of two commercial sex workers aged 30 and 50 on Tuesday night. It still not clear whether the two women jumped or fell to their death from the third floor of the building after the police team landed there. The building is located merely 50 metres from D B Marg police station.

An accidental death case has been registered and the cops have begun a probe. The deceased were originally from West Bengal.

“Residents of this area had carried out a candle march last month to protest against prostitution. Police had immediately shut down places which allegedly ran prostitution rackets. Since then, police teams have been visiting various premises to find out if they have reopened. Tuesday night’s raid was part of the routine check. Two contables entered Om Niwas building to find three women and four men there. After making inquiries, the team returned to the police station,” said a police officer.

No woman constable was part of the team though. “Around 20 minutes after the police team returned from the building, a woman ran inside the police station and said that she had seen two injured women in the house galli—a narrow wedge between two buildings used as a passage for drainage—behind Om Niwas. A police team arrived and rushed the two women to J J Hospital where the older woman was declared brought dead,” said the officer. The other woman died during treatment between 1am and 2am. They had moved into the building three months back.

“Generally commercial sex workers flee or try to hide during police raids. They are also known to create cavities to hide. No such cavity was found in the rooms occupied by these two women. Sex workers also flee from house gallis which have narrow stairs or they simply climb down using pipes,” added an officer.

The officer said the department will henceforth be careful during raids to avoid such tragedies.

Unnao cops did nothing as MLA’s brother beat me’

Rape Survivor’s Dad Said In Video Days Before Death

Unnao: Days before his death, the father of the Unnao rape survivor named BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar’s brother as his attacker in a video and revealed that police were present at the time of the assault but remained mute spectators.

The rape survivor, who has alleged that Sengar had raped her along with his associates in June last year, had tried to immolate herself in front of the UP CM’s residence on Sunday.

A day later, her father died of septicaemia in judicial custody and the autopsy revealed 18 injuries on his body.

Police sources said the video was recorded by a local journalist at the Ujjain district hospital on April 3, the day Devender (name changed to protect the rape survivor’s identity) was attacked in his house by Sengar’s brother Atul and his associates.

Unnao rape: UP to finally lodge FIR against BJP MLA

State Likely To Seek CBI Investigation

Lucknow: The UP government on Wednesday decided to lodge an FIR against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in connection with the rape of an Unnao teenager and refer it for a probe by the CBI. The government also decided to recommend a CBI probe into the alleged murder of the rape survivor’s father in judicial custody.

The government decision for a CBI probe came just after Sengar made an appearance at the official residence of Lucknow police chief to announce that he had no role in the rape of the teenager and death of her father.

The government also announced suspension of two senior doctors of Unnao distric hospital. It also annonced disciplinary action against three other doctors of the jail department for dereliction of duty and negligence in attending to the rape survivor’s father, who died on Tuesday.

Principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said the decision was taken on the basis of the interim report submitted by the additional director general (ADG), Lucknow Zone, Rajeev Krishna on Wednesday. Krishna was heading the SIT to probe the allegations against the MLA and his brother. Action against the doctors was initiated on the basis of separate inquiry reports submitted by deputy inspector general (DIG-Prisons), Love Kumar and Unnao DM on the role of jail administration and doctors who attended to the rape survivor’s father before he was sent to jail in connection with a case of assault.

Just before the probe report was made public, Sengar trashed speculations that he had come to surrender. He said reports that he had gone into hiding was doing the rounds and he had come there to assure the SSP that he was very much present.

On tape, MLA heard seeking truce with rape survivor’s uncle

Unnao: The SIT constituted to probe the rape charges against BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar has seized an audio clip in which the legislator is allegedly asking the survivor’s uncle to settle their differences. SIT chief Rajeev Krishna said the police have accessed all material, including the audio clips, and are analysing them. The clip begins with Sengar’s question: “What are you doing these days? Why are you getting pamphlets published against me? It’s been running for more than six months.”

“I have not got them printed,” the girl’s uncle is heard saying. The MLA is then heard asking the man if he considers himself as a younger brother or not.

“Yes I am. I received the pamphlet on WhatsApp. But I am not some Hanuman that I can tear myself apart and prove it,” the uncle says. The two men then discuss the criminal FIRs, while accusing each other of registering them on “manufactured” complaints. The girl’s uncle repeatedly refers the legislator as “daddu”. “I have stayed hungry to serve you. I have followed your instructions,” the uncle says.

The MLA then appeals to the girl’s uncle to end their differences and move forward. He says that he would ask his younger brother Atul to apologise to the girl’s uncle. “Ab humari tumhari baat hui, koi beech mai nahi rahega. Atul tumhare sage hain. Maine kaha Atul tumhare samne galti mangenge aur humare tumhare parivar ek hoke rahenge (Our families will live like one and my brother will apologise to you),” the MLA says.

He then offers to call their family over tea. The phone call then ends.

What action taken so far, HC asks UP govt

Allahabad high court on Wednesday sought from the Uttar Pradesh government details of the action taken in the Unnao gang rape case. Taking cognizance of a letter presented in the court by senior lawyer Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi who asked for a court-monitored probe, the HC slated the matter for hearing on Thursday. . “What is disturbing, as submitted by Chaturvedi, is that the father of the prosecutrix, for no reason, came to be arrested and was in custody, where, we are informed, he was mercilessly beaten and he succumbed to the injuries… We fail to understand why the investigating agency, instead of arresting the accused persons, arrested the complainant, in connection with this case,” the court observed. TNN

MLA’s wife seeks narco test on hubby, rape survivor

Lucknow: BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar’s wife Sangeeta on Wednesday demanded a narco test on her husband and the teenaged Unnao rape survivor to “bring out the truth in the case”. She defended her husband and claimed that he was innocent.

Sangeeta, who is head of Unnao zila panchayat, met DGP OP Singh in Lucknow and pleaded with him for the narco tests. She was accompanied by BJP MLA Shailesh Singh ‘Shailu’.

Talking to reporters after meeting the DGP, she refuted allegations that her husband and his aides had assaulted the rape survivor’s father which led to his death.

“We are devastated and feel embarrassed in facing the society because the media has portrayed my husband as a rape accused. My children are in a state of trauma,” she said.

“Police must conduct a fair probe. There is no truth in rape charges,” Sengar added.

Later, talking to TOI, she ruled out any negotiations with the rape survivor’s family who live near her house in Unnao. “There is no point in talking to the girl or her family as they have accused us in the case. We thought that we belong to the same village and share a bond, but they think otherwise,” she added.

I am sad at the death of the girl’s father. There should be a fair investigation into the entire incident,” she said.

Asked about the whereabouts of her husband who is reportedly untraceable, Sangeeta said, “He was with me in the morning, but I don’t where he is now. I don’t know if he is hiding from media.”

Sangeeta Sengar

MLA to be booked, UP seeks CBI probe

The UP government, late on Wednesday night, decided to lodge an FIR against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the rape case. It also decided to recommend a CBI probe into the alleged murder of the rape survivor’s father. The decision came just after Sengar made a dramatic appearance at the Lucknow police chief’s residence to announce he had no role in the rape of the teen or death of her father. P 7

Police didn’t help me, says dad on video

Police brought Devender to the hospital and a day later, he was arrested and sent to jail for the brawl. Though Devender had also filed an FIR against Atul, the latter was arrested only on Tuesday. “ The MLA’s brother thrashed me. They kept on beating me up, but police did not stop them,” Devender said on tape. When asked to name the person who thrashed him, he said, “Kuldip’s brother Atul.” When the local reporter asks him what triggered the fight, Devender says, “They had abducted my daughter.” He said his attackers had come armed to his house. “One of them was armed with a rifle. The goons had a gun also. Police stayed a spectator,” he is heard saying in the video.

Won’t give up the good fight’

Lawyer trying to get Kathua rape and murder victim justice says she is being pressured by senior lawyer to drop case

IN SRINAGAR

Deepika Thusoo Singh feels like she is waging a lonely battle. The advocate trying to get a semblance of justice to eight-year-old Asifa, whose rape in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January sparked an outrage across the country, says she is facing threats from members of the fraternity.

She said she has been “harassed” by a senior Jammu Bar Association member into dropping the case. “They are trying to pressure me so that I don’t get Asifa justice. But such threats will not sway me. I will continue to fight her case. I have full faith in the crime branch’s investigation.”

The senior lawyer has allegedly warned her that he “knows the means of stopping her”.

Singh says she wrote to the chief justice of the Jammu High Court immediately after receiving the threat, following which she was given a police security cover.

A large clutch of lawyers is seen as being supportive of the culprits. On Tuesday, an FIR was filed against some who tried to prevent the filing of the chargesheet.

Ineffective shutdown

The strike called in Jammu by the Kathua Bar Association and the Jammu Bar Association against the state police crime branch and over various issues, including the demand for a CBI probe in the Asifa case, didn’t affect the conduct of business. Although some markets were closed, most shops stayed open. Most educational institutions also operated as usual, and public transport was not affected.

Protests were held in many parts of the Valley, demanding stringent punishment for the culprits. Besides Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a numbers of civil society groups and students hit the streets demanding fair proceedings.

Blame game

With the case taking on communal hues — the Bakherwals are a minority group and the culprits have known associations with a rightwing group — political parties in the state have begun a tussle.

While some political groups want an investigation by the CBI, others have been quick to rise to the accused’s defence. Some others have questioned the settlement of “outsiders” Gujjars and Bhakerwals in Kathua. The matter escalated after two BJP ministers, Chander Parkash Ganga and Minister Lal Singh, protested the arrests. Forest Minister Lal Singh wants the CBI’s involvement. BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta asked for strict punishment for the culprits.

The National Conference demanded the trial to be shifted to a court outside of Kathua, given local lawyers’ open support of the accused. “The government will have to prove that it is not shielding culprits,” party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said.

EDITOR’S NOTE We avoid running gruesome pictures of bodies as an editorial policy, mainly to protect the dignity of the deceased and to not disturb our readers. But the brutal gang rape of Asifa, the 8-year-old daughter of a nomadic herdsman in Kathua, her subsequent murder, the shameful defence of her killers by lawyers who obstructed the police, and the silence of powerful politicians has forced a rethink in our newsroom. The complicity of adults did this to Asifa. The least we can do is not look the other way.

Lawyer Deepika Thusoo Singh

HOW WAS IT EXECUTED?

KEPT DRUGGED, GANG-RAPED REPEATEDLY

Even moments before being bludgeoned to death, Asifa was raped. Chargesheet reveals sordid details and attempts of a cover-up

JAN 4

Sanji Ram convinces juvenile to join his, Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar’s plan of dislodging Bakherwals

JAN 7

Deepak Khajuria and friend Vikram buy a strip of 10 sedatives; Sanji Ram tells the juvenile to kidnap Asifa

JAN 8

Juvenile is promised help to pass exam; he shares the plan with a close friend

JAN 9

He buys some sedatives

JAN 10

Juvenile offers to help Asifa find her horse, which had wandered off while grazing. He leads her to the jungle; she tries to flee, but is overpowered by juvenile and Parvesh Kumar. Juvenile sedates and rapes her. She is left under a table in the devisthan

JAN 11

• Juvenile calls up cousin Vishal Jangotra, asks if he wants to “satisfy his lust”

• Parents make enquiries about missing Asifa at devisthan. Sanji Ram downplays the disappearance

• Around noon, Deepak Khajuria and juvenile drug Asifa again

JAN 12

Girl is sedated again. Police search begins. Deepak Khajuria part of the team that visits Sanji Ram’s house. Ram offers a deal. Head constable Tilak Raj tells him payments have to be made to SI Anand Dutta

• Tilak Raj is paid Rs 1.5 lakh through juvenile’s mother

JAN 13

Vishal Jangotra, Sanji Ram, juvenile perform rituals at devisthan, and Jangotra and juvenikle take turns raping her. Asifa is sedated again

• Asifa is taken to a culvert to be killed; Deepak Khajuria says he wants to rape her first. Khajuria and juvenile strangle and bludgeon her to death

JAN 15

They dump the body in the jungle

JAN 17

The body is discovered from the Rassana forest

Unnao rape case

‘Don’t brand my husband a rapist’

Accused MLA’s wife meets UP DGP, seeks narco test, CBI probe

#LUCKNOW

Two days after the father of a woman, who alleged rape by a BJP MLA, died in custody in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, the politician’s wife defended him and demanded a narco test on her husband and the survivor.

The 18-year-old woman, who had tried to kill herself outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s house, on the other hand alleged that she had been confined to a hotel room by the district administration.

Meanwhile, wife of MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, after meeting DGP OP Singh, said that there was a political conspiracy against her family. “We demand that a narco test be conducted on my husband and the girl as well as her uncle. We have full sympathy with the girl, as her modesty was outraged… But there are political reasons behind this and my husband has been made a pawn,” Sangeeta Sengar said.

“My husband is innocent, and it is my request that he should not be called a rapist,” she said, adding, her daughters were unable to concentrate on their studies due to the incident.

‘No phone, water or TV.

Can’t even go outside’

The victim claimed that the district administration in Unnao had virtually confined her to a hotel room “without a phone or water and guards at every corner”.

“I can’t charge my mobile, there is no TV, no water. We are told we can’t go outside,” the girl told a TV news channel.

“There are guards at every corner. When we ask them for help, they say it isn’t their job,” the girl said.

SIT visits Makhi village in Unnao

A Special Investigation Team headed by Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow) visited Makhi village of the rape victim to submit a report to the CM.

“The SIT team will probe on all the aspects of the case and act accordingly. Security has been provided to the victim’s family,” ADGP (Lucknow zone) Rajiv Krishna said.

SC to hear plea seeking CBI probe

The Supreme Court said it will hear next week the plea for a CBI probe into the case. PTI

Behind every accused…

Two years ago, when BJP leader Dayashankar Singh found himself in the midst of a PR disaster after badmouthing Mayawati, the party sacked him but made sure his wife gave the right statements in the media. Swati is now an MLA from Lucknow.

On Wednesday, BJP stuck to this time-tested formula and sent a tearful Sangeeta Sengar to counter the visage of her husband’s smug mug. A haggard-looking Sangeeta was seen beseeching the media to stop branding her ‘pawn in a political game’ husband a rapist. Party sources expressed shock especially because this wasn’t Sengar’s first brush with crime. “When Sengar was an SP MLA, then CM Akhilesh Yadav had to make sure that a case was registered against him,” pointed out a BJP leader.

Another girl-child held captive, raped, killed — this one in Surat

86 Injury Marks On Unidentified Victim’s Body

Surat: Amid nationwide outrage over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old

in Kathua, Surat police told TOI on Sunday that an 11-year-old, whose body was found about 10 days ago, had been raped, tortured and strangled to death. There were at least 86 injury marks on her body.

There were severe injuries to the girl’s private parts caused by a blunt object, according to the autopsy report. It seems she was confined, raped and brutally tortured before being killed, cops said.

Police are yet to make any headway on the girl’s identity or the perpetrators of the ghastly crime.

We have failed her’

Laments Union Minister VK Singh even as he promises justice to Asifa, the eight-year-old victim of rape and murder in Kathua. J&K Chief Minister vows that law will not be obstructed

#JAMMU

Amid mounting outrage over the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, Union Minister VK Singh perhaps best summed up the mood of shame and mortification when he said, “We have failed Ashifa as humans”.

Singh, who belongs to the ruling BJP and had earlier served as the Army chief, took to Twitter to express his exasperation, but at the same time, he insisted that the girl will get justice. “We have failed Ashifa as humans. But she will not be denied justice. #PunishTheSavages #RapeAndMurderOfHumanity #Kathua #JusticeForAshifa #GenerallySaying,” the minister tweeted.

Singh’s condemnation of the crime came on a day Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti promised that there will be no obstruction of justice while the Congress targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “silence” over the issue.

“The law will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people. Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on fast track and justice will be delivered,” the Chief Minister said.

Her tweet follows protest by the Jammu Bar Association against the handling of the case by the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch and demand for a CBI probe into it. The lawyers have been accused of trying to prevent the police from filing the chargesheet in the case.

Eight persons — mastermind Sanji Ram, 60, a former revenue official; his nephew, a juvenile; son Vishal Jangotra, pursuing a BSc in Agriculture a Mirapur, UP, college; special police officers (SPOs) Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar; Ram’s friend Parvesh Kumar; as well as head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram to destroy crucial evidence — have been arrested in the case.

They have been charged with abduction, rape and murder of Asifa Bano, a girl from the ‘Bakerwal’ (nomadic) community, in Kathua’s Rassana village in January. The chargesheet has thrown up sordid details like how she was confined in a temple, sedated and repeatedly raped. The crime was allegedly a carefully planned plot to drive out the minority momadic community from the region.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi asked “how could anyone protect the culprits” and deplored letting politics interfere in such “unimaginable brutality”. “How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil? What happened to Asifa at Kathua is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished,” he tweeted.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal attacked Modi on his silence over the issue and said he should speak up over violence against women in states where the BJP is in power. “Prime Minister is silent over the incidents of rape in Unnao (in Uttar Pradesh) and Kathua,” Sibal said.

Family has abandoned home

Family members of Asifa have abandoned their home in Rassana village out of fear. Police sources told Mirror that the victim’s father Muhammad Yusuf Pujwala, along with his wife, two children and livestock, left their house without telling anyone. They have reportedly shifted to the house of Pujwala’s brother in Samba district. AGENCIES

A woman protests against the Kathua and Unnao rapes in New Delhi

Suspects were at crime scene on crucial dates

The crime branch is said to have established through call data records that the main culprits were around the scene of crime on crucial dates following the girl’s disappearance.

“Call data records show that SPO Deepak Khajuria was in constant touch with Surinder Kumar, an SPO at Hiranagar police station since the date of the victim’s abduction,” said an official.

The crime branch also revealed that it recorded the statements of 22 witnesses before a judicial magistrate (under Section 164 of CrPC) to counter any hostility during the trial. Statements recorded under oath, before a magistrate, are admissible as evidence. ANIL RAINA

Unnao rape

BJP MLA booked, state govt hands over probe to CBI

Principal secy (home) says CBI to take a call on arrest of legislator

#LUCKNOW

The UP police on Thursday registered an FIR against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar for allegedly gang-raping a minor girl with his aides in Unnao last June, hours after the state government declared that it would hand the probe over to CBI.

Till the agency takes over, the local police would continue with the probe, but a decision on whether the MLA would be arrested would be taken by the CBI, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said.

Earlier in the day, the Unnao police, facing heat for its shoddy handling of the case and the recent custodial death of the victim’s father, registered a case against Sengar under various sections of the IPC and provisions of the POCSO Act in the Makhi police station area.

Arrest him immediately: Victim

On Thursday, the 17-year-old victim demanded the immediate arrest of the MLA, saying that the CBI probe could be conducted later. “We have no objection to the inquiry but he should be arrested first-…why is he being shielded,” she said. “If he is allowed to remain out he will not leave my uncle… Even earlier, he had hatched conspiracies against my kin.” PTI

Will you arrest the MLA? HC asks UP govt

The Allahabad High Court came down heavily on the UP government on Thursday on the Unnao rape, asking whether it proposes to arrest accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

A bench of Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar, taking cognisance of the gangrape case on a letter to the court by senior lawyer Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi, will pronounce its order today.

The court referred to the SIT report and said, “In spite of the SIT report, you are repeating that we can only take any action after further investigation, if this is the conduct of the police in state, whom will a victim approach to register a complaint?”

Unnao gang-rape survivor’s father dies in police custody

Lucknow/Unnao: A day after a 20-year-old girl tried to immolate herself near UP CM’s residence accusing BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his aides of gang rape, her father died in mysterious circumstances at a hospital in Unnao early Monday morning. The girl’s father was in judicial custody after his arrest for a brawl with Sengar’s supporters last week.

The Unnao administration swung into action after Devender’s (name changed to protect the rape survivor’s identity) death. It arrested four persons and suspended six cops, including the Makhi police station in-charge.

Later in the evening, Sengar arrived at the secretariat to offer his explanation to the chief minister , but reportedly could not meet him.

The home department said the girl had not named the MLA in her first complaint, lodged after the alleged crime in June last year.

Yogi said ADG (Lucknow) has been asked to conduct a probe and bring the guilty to book, “no matter howsoever powerful that person is”.

According to reports, on April 3, some miscreants barged into Devender’s house and bashed him brutally in front of his wife and daughter.

‘Father was killed as I did not withdraw rape plaint’

The family reached Makhi police station to lodge an FIR against Sengar’s younger brother Atul and other aides. Devender alleged that Atul led the group and asked his accomplices to attack the family.

An FIR was lodged on April 4 against the assailants but Atul’s name didn’t figure in it. On the other hand, Makhi police booked Devender under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and also pressed Arms Act against him after registering a counter-FIR on the same day.

Devender was arrested and the court sent him to 14-day judicial remand after police argued that he was a listed criminal. After a medical check-up at the district hospital, he was sent to Unnao prison around 7.30 pm on April 4. Devender was shifted from the prison to the district hospital on Sunday evening after he complained of stomach ache. He died in the hospital around 3.30am on Monday. The exact cause for his death would be known after an autopsy on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

The rape survivor alleged on Monday that Sengar had got her father killed since she was not willing to withdraw the gang-rape complaint against him. “Since Unnao police refused to act against Sengar, his brothers and goons, we were forced to move court to get an FIR registered. He organised the attack on my father when he refused to withdraw the complaint,” she said.

On the delay in lodging an FIR against Sengar, she said the MLA had threatened to get the entire family killed. “I had met the chief minister on August 17 last year and told him about my ordeal. I was assured of help but this is what happened in the end,” she told mediapersons. DGP OP Singh said policemen had been suspended for negligence and for not taking action against both the groups soon after the April 3 clash.

Not just me, the nation lost a daughter’

Udhampur: At a place called Roundomail, some distance away from Udhampur, Amjad Ali squats on the shoulder of a road that goes uphill. He needs to catch his breath.

With about 50 sheep, an equal number of goats, and 15 horses, he has walked a little over 110 km over nine days to reach here from Rasana village in Kathua, the place where

an eight-year-old girl was first gang-raped and then killed. He will reach his destination, Kishtwar, after a month and a half.

Amjad, the parents of the dead girl and 17 others quietly left Rasana last Thursday as the country came face to face with two horrific crimes — one that saw a child murdered and thrown to the wolves in a forest that she often played in, the other that saw a helpless father beaten to death for protesting the violation of his young daughter.

“The pressure was unbearable,” said Amjad, adding: “We were getting threats, told that our cattle and houses would be burned down.”

The parents of the eight-year-old don’t want to return to Kathua

‘In Kathua, nobody is safe anymore’

How can we fight? What are we left with if our goats are killed? We are Bakarwals. This is our livelihood. If they die, we die. We have already lost a child, Amjad Ali said.

The father of the girl, a small, scraggy man with a patchy beard who mostly sat in silence next to an unruly bunch of goats, cleared their house in Rasana of the sparse belongings they had before setting off on this journey. He doesn’t plan to ever return to Kathua. Two other deras (families of sorts) in this group are unsure too.

“What will we return to?” he asked in halting, laboured Hindi. “I have only one hope now. If there is humanity in this country, this case has to be seen with such eyes. It’s not just me that has lost a daughter. Hindustan ki beti bhi thi woh.” Unable to correctly articulate the fact that the case has got so politicised that it couldn’t even come to court without the intervention of the higher judiciary, he said, “Politicians are taking the incident with them.”

This nomadic Bakarwal cluster of about 20, like other such collectives, doesn’t stay in Jammu once high summer approaches. From Anantnag originally, they trek upwards during this time or a bit later. In winter, with fodder for their cattle getting scarce, they come down, making money just once a year — when they sell their sheep and goats for Eid-ul-Zuha. But it’s not just fear for herd or property that is stopping him from thinking of Rasana again. Amjad pointed to a girl, a few years older than the one who was killed. “That is his other daughter. He is worried about her now. He thinks nobody is safe anymore there.”

Amjad, who seemed to be in his early 20s and smiled with what looked like pride when he said he had passed his Class X, hasn’t thought about the coming winter. “We have been in Kathua for so many years,” he said. “I was born there. Initially, when she died, we were in shock and despair but we thought it must be the work of a few wretched individuals. But then the rallies started and there was talk of the accused getting out. That’s when we felt very alone, vulnerable. I don’t feel like seeing Rasana again.”

A candlelight march organised by J&K High Court Bar Association demanding the CBI inquiry into the Kathua rape-murder case

UN: Hope the guilty are brought to justice

Terming as the kathua incident “horrific”, UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed hope that the authorities will bring perpetrators of the brutal crime to justice. “We hope that the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice so they can be held accountable for the murder…,” Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujjaric said on Friday. PTI

PDP vows fast-track trial, axes 3 cops in Kathua rape-murder

Reiterates It’ll Bring Law On Rapists Of Kids

Srinagar: Two days after a national outrage against the rape and murder of an eightyear-old girl in Kathua, the J&K government said it would set up a fast-track court to punish the guilty and enact a law with stringent provisions against child rapists.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Naeem Akhtar announced this after a 30-minute meeting of party legislators and ministers at the chief minister’s residence.

PDP also thanked people across India for their solidarity with J&K over the crime, indicating that the outrage may help mend ties between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the nation. The outrage came against the backdrop of the lament in the Valley about the country’s perceived indifference towards allegations of excesses of security forces.

Mufti lauds Jammu for seeking justice for victim, sacks 3 cops

Political observers felt that while the hope that there could be sympathy for those who get hurt pelting stones at security forces will be unrealistic, falling into the category of “irrational exuberance”, the bond forged over Kathua tragedy may give a crucial opening to those who are working for reconciliation.

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that “going for a fast track court to dispose of the Kathua case is a commitment of the chief minister”. Official sources said that once the fast track court is set up, the trial is likely to be completed in 90 days.

In another development, the Mehbooba government terminated the services of the three policemen who are accused in the case. The government terminated the services of sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Deepak Khajuria, who have been arrested for the crime. While Dutta and Raj are accused of attempting to destroy evidence, the chargesheet says that the mastermind, retired revenue official Sanji Ram, made Khajuria “part of the conspiracy” to abduct, rape and later kill the child. The victim was kept in captivity and raped for seven days in a temple in Rasana village of the Kathua district from January 10 to 17.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba lauded the people of Jammu for ‘dismissing’ communal forces and their ‘unwavering’ support for justice for the eight-year-old girl. “I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces and were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J-K inspire secular unity and righteousness,” Mufti said in a tweet.

In an earlier tweet, the CM expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court taking cognizance of an alleged attempt by lawyers in Kathua to obstruct the filing of the chargesheet in the case.

“Heartening to see the Supreme Court take cognizance of the attempted obstruction of justice by some lawyers in the brutal Kathua rape and murder case reminding us once again of the greatness of this nation,” she said.

Death penalty proposal being prepared: Maneka

Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday said her department is preparing a proposal for an amendment to the POCSO Act to provide for death sentence for the rape of a minor below the age of 12 years, saying tough punishment would act as a strong deterrent. After preparing a Cabinet note in this regard, her department will send it to various ministries for their opinion. “My ministry will seek an amendment to the Act for death penalty to convicts of rape of minors below 12 years,” she said. PTI

PDP vows fast-track trial, axes 3 cops in Kathua rape-murder

Reiterates It’ll Bring Law On Rapists Of Kids

Srinagar: Two days after a national outrage against the rape and murder of an eightyear-old girl in Kathua, the J&K government said it would set up a fast-track court to punish the guilty and enact a law with stringent provisions against child rapists.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Naeem Akhtar announced this after a 30-minute meeting of party legislators and ministers at the chief minister’s residence.

PDP also thanked people across India for their solidarity with J&K over the crime, indicating that the outrage may help mend ties between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the nation. The outrage came against the backdrop of the lament in the Valley about the country’s perceived indifference towards allegations of excesses of security forces.

Mufti lauds Jammu for seeking justice for victim, sacks 3 cops

Political observers felt that while the hope that there could be sympathy for those who get hurt pelting stones at security forces will be unrealistic, falling into the category of “irrational exuberance”, the bond forged over Kathua tragedy may give a crucial opening to those who are working for reconciliation.

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that “going for a fast track court to dispose of the Kathua case is a commitment of the chief minister”. Official sources said that once the fast track court is set up, the trial is likely to be completed in 90 days.

In another development, the Mehbooba government terminated the services of the three policemen who are accused in the case. The government terminated the services of sub-inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Deepak Khajuria, who have been arrested for the crime. While Dutta and Raj are accused of attempting to destroy evidence, the chargesheet says that the mastermind, retired revenue official Sanji Ram, made Khajuria “part of the conspiracy” to abduct, rape and later kill the child. The victim was kept in captivity and raped for seven days in a temple in Rasana village of the Kathua district from January 10 to 17.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba lauded the people of Jammu for ‘dismissing’ communal forces and their ‘unwavering’ support for justice for the eight-year-old girl. “I commend the manner in which the people of Jammu dismissed communal forces and were unwavering in their support for a little girl. It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J-K inspire secular unity and righteousness,” Mufti said in a tweet.

In an earlier tweet, the CM expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court taking cognizance of an alleged attempt by lawyers in Kathua to obstruct the filing of the chargesheet in the case.

“Heartening to see the Supreme Court take cognizance of the attempted obstruction of justice by some lawyers in the brutal Kathua rape and murder case reminding us once again of the greatness of this nation,” she said.

Death penalty proposal being prepared: Maneka

Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday said her department is preparing a proposal for an amendment to the POCSO Act to provide for death sentence for the rape of a minor below the age of 12 years, saying tough punishment would act as a strong deterrent. After preparing a Cabinet note in this regard, her department will send it to various ministries for their opinion. “My ministry will seek an amendment to the Act for death penalty to convicts of rape of minors below 12 years,” she said. PTI

49 retired officers write to PM, say govt has not done enough in ‘darkest hour’

In a hard-hitting letter to PM Modi, a group of 49 retired civil servants referred to the Kathua and Unnaon incidents as post-Independence India’s “darkest hour” and wrote, “…we find the response of our government… inadequate and feeble… we hang our heads in shame.” The signatories, including former senior police officers Meera Borwankar and Julio Ribeiro, also wrote, “In both cases, Prime Minister, it is your party in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you more than anyone else have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs…” P 10

Cops out to trace Surat girl’s identity

The Surat police on Sunday formed several teams to trace the identity of a girl whose body was dumped after she was raped, torured and killed, and to track down the perpetrators of the crime, following widespread protests by people and civil society groups against “police inaction”. Demanding speedy investigations into the case, Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, led by Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani, protested in Mehsana town of north Gujarat.

The girl’s body was found under the bushes near a cricket stadium in Pandesara area of Surat on April 6 morning, “We will widen our probe to trace the perpetrators of the crime. All residential colonies and societies near the crime spot would be checked again to get clues. We will scan CCTV footages of nearby places,” Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma told TOI.

The details of the case came to light on Sunday, with Sharma holding a press conference. An FIR has been lodged under Sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 376 (rape) of the IPC and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act against unidentified persons, Sharma said.

The police had printed 1,350 posters of the girl and circulated them on social media and declared a cash reward of Rs 20,000 for anyone helping in identifying the girl or giving information about the perpetrators, Sharma added.

An officer said the girl could have been raped, tortured and killed elsewhere and then dumped in Surat. He said the Surat police were checking with their counterparts in Odisha and West Bengal.

Kathua, Unnao horrors: Nation rallies for justice

Protests against the brutal gangrape-cum-murder of an eight-year-old girl in J&K’s Kathua and the rape of a 16-year-old by a BJP legislator in UP’s Unnao erupted across the country on Sunday. Scores of people hit the streets, condemning the government’s response in both the cases and demanding justice for the hapless girls and their families.

In the country’s commercial capital Mumbai, a large number of people turned up at Carter Road in Bandra to protest against both the cases. Protesters carried placards and shouted slogans seeking justice for the rape victims and harsh punishment for accused people.

“The crowd that gathered here today is scared and worried. People are disappointed with corruption within the police and degrading law and order situation,” said Abha Singh, lawyer and activist.

In Gujarat, the horrors of Kathua and Unnao shook people’s conscience as hundreds thronged the streets on Sunday. Residents of Dhabgarvad locality in Ahmedabad held a protest march at which children displayed placards, expressing outrage over the Kathua rape and murder. A group of young girls sought justice for the Unnao rape survivor as well.

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which is led by Hardik Patel, has joined the protests. Its members held a candlelight march in Nikol area of Ahmedabad. Similar protests were also held in Vadodara, Surat and Junagadh.

Similarly, in the national Capital, hundreds of people gathered at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, under the banner “Not In My Name”. The voices echoed through Parliament Street as one among the many placards said, “Beti ko pehle bachao, phir beti padhao”.

In Chandigarh too, citybased volunteer groups, Bekhauf Azaadi and Not In My Name, along with a group of over 12 senior lawyers, organised a protest.

In Unnao’s home state UP, women gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi statue near Chowki Chauraha in Bareilly, carrying placards. They demanded capital punishment for those guilty.

In Pilibhit, hundreds of women staged protests on Sunday on all major city roads. The agitating women said the way BJP legislator Kuldeep Sengar and his men were being extended political patronage was highly condemnable.

Similar protests were witnessed in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam as well.

UNITED AGAINST BARBARITY: People hold placards as they participate in a protest against the Kathua and Unnao rapes, in Mumbai on Sunday

BCI asks bar bodies to call off strike

New Delhi: The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Sunday asked the Jammu and Kathua bar associations to call off their strike and decided to send a five-member team headed by a former high court chief justice to investigate the alleged incident of misconduct on part of the lawyers there in connection with the Kathua rape-murder case. BCI chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra told reporters that if any lawyer is found guilty, then the council will go to the extend of cancelling the legal practise licence. The decision came after its general body meeting which was convened on Sunday. “The BCI has decided to issue a direction and make an appeal to the Jammu High Court Bar Association and the Kathua Bar Association to call off their strike with immediate effect,” Mishra said. AGENCIES

It’s India’s darkest hour, ex-bureaucrats tell PM

49 Former Civil Servants Write To Modi

New Delhi: Amid growing public outrage over the Kathua and Unnao incidents, a collective of retired civil servants has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling this is a “moment of existential crisis” in which the government’s response would determine if the nation could “overcome the crisis of constitutional values, of governance and the ethical order”.

In a strongly worded letter that sought to pin the blame on right wing politics and the Sangh Parivar, the 49 signatories referred to the Kathua and Unnao incidents as the result of a “culture of majoritarian belligerence and aggression promoted by the Sangh Parivar”. They said the government had “failed in performing the most basic of the responsibilities given to it by the people”, to reassure everyone, especially the minorities and vulnerable sections of society, “that they need not fear for their life and liberty”.

The signatories included former coal secretary Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan, former police chiefs Meera Borwankar and Julio Rebeiro, former foreign secretary Nareshwar Dayal, former Indian ambassador to Italy K P Fabian and former health secretary Sujatha Rao.

The letter said, “The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into. In post-independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble. At this juncture, we see no light at the end of the tunnel and we hang our heads in shame. Our sense of shame is all the more acute because some of our younger colleagues… also seem to have failed in their duty.”

The retired civil servants, who addressed the letter as “citizens” with “no affiliations” , also blamed Modi. They said, “In both cases, prime minister, it is your party which is in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you more than anyone else have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs….”

The former government servants also asked the PM to apologise to the families of the Kathua and Unnao victims, to fasttrack prosecution of the perpetrators, renew the pledge to offer special protection to Muslims, Dalits and other members of minority communities, and “remove from government anyone who has been associated with hate crimes and hate speeches”.

I can be raped or killed, says victim’s lawyer

New Delhi : Kathua rape victim’s lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat on Sunday said she fears for her life as she may get raped or murdered.

“Today, I don’t know, I am not in my senses. I can be raped, I can be killed and may be they won’t allow me to practice in court. They (have) isolated me, I don’t know how I can survive,” Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat said. She added that she has been called anti-Hindu and boycotted socially.

Further, Deepika said she will approach the Supreme Court to demand security for herself and her family. “I will tell this to the Supreme Court. I am feeling bad and it’s really unfortunate…But, I will stand for justice..,” she added. AGENCIES

2 BJP J&K ministers quit after PM slams Kathua, Unnao rapes

They’d Attended Protests Backing Rape Accused

Srinagar: Under fire from opponents and protests from Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP on Friday secured the resignations of two of its ministers, Lal Singh and Chandar

Prakash Ganga, from the coalition government for participating in protests in favour of the accused in the Kathua gang rape and murder case.

BJP chief in J&K Sat Sharma confirmed that the two ministers had put in their papers. Lal Singh was forests minister and Ganga held charge of industry and commerce departments.

Although Sharma claimed that Lal Singh and Ganga quit on their own, sources said the two were recalled at the instance of PM Modi, who held that being ministers, they should not have joined the attack on J&K police for arresting those accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old.

PM rejects minister’s frame-up claim

Sources also said the PM rejected the ministers’ defence that they had attended the protest organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch against the so-called frame-up in order to defuse the tension as thousands had turned up for the protest on March 22.

The action against the two ministers coincided with the PM breaking his silence to condemn the rape in Kathua as well as the one in Unnao in BJP-ruled UP. Modi, who has been slammed for keeping mum on the two atrocities, spoke forcefully as he called the twin crimes as having shamed the nation.

The two J&K ministers, sources said, defended themselves by claiming that they were seeking to assuage Hindu opinion which was angry over alleged attempts to change the demographic mix in Jammu by settling Rohingyas and Bakarwals, Muslim nomads. The PM did not accept the explanation and said it did not behove them to attack the government they were part of. Mufti, it is learnt, was another contributory factor as she expressed discomfort with her ally’s political backing for the accused. Sources said Mufti told home minister Rajnath Singh that the actions of Lal Singh and Ganga had complicated matters for her just when she was trying to mollify the anger over the death of civilians.

Petitioner in Ishrat case dies in Kerala crash

Alappuzha: Gopinatha Pillai, 78, fighting a protracted legal battle to clear the name of his son — Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Ghulam Sheikh — who was branded a terrorist and shot by Gujarat police in 2004, succumbed to injuries on Friday following an accident on Wednesday.

Sheikh was allegedly killed in cold blood along with Ishrat Jahan and two others. The ‘fake encounter’ case became a political hot potato that saw several cover-up attempts. Gopinatha, who had consistently contested the Gujarat government and police claim that his son was involved in terrorist plots, claimed at one point that his son had been a police informer and had worked for “patriots”.

Pillais: We don’t suspect any foul play in accident

With Pillai’s death, Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kauser is the only petitioner in the case. Police are probing all aspects of the accident. “Full investigation will be conducted to determine whether it was an accident or murder,” Kerala DGP Loknath Behra told TOI.

Pillai, a native of Nooranad, met with the accident at 6am at Vayalar Junction on National Highway 66 while on his way to a Kochi hospital for check-up. His car was being driven by brother Madhavan. “We left home by 4am on Wednesday. A car that was moving in front of us applied brake. As I slowed down the car it was slammed from behind by a lorry. Our car lost control, crossed the median and collided with another lorry that was moving towards Alappuzha,” Madhavan Pillai told TOI on Friday.

However, the Pillais do not suspect any foul play. “It was an accident… We do not suspect anything else in this case,” Gopinatha’s nephew, Anush M N, said.

CBI arrests rape-accused BJP MLA as court tears into UP govt & police

Neta Picked Up From His Home Before Daybreak

Lucknow: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was booked by Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday, following

a nationwide furore over rape allegations levelled against him by a minor in Unnao.

He was picked up for questioning from Lucknow before the break of dawn on Friday. The CBI team took him into custody late in the evening.

Though the Allahabad high court ordered earlier in the day that the BJP MLA should be arrested “forthwith”, CBI officials kept claiming till late evening that he had been detained.

However, at around 9.45pm, CBI spokesperson RK Gaur confirmed to TOI that Sengar had been arrested at 9.30pm. “We have arrested Kuldeep Sengar on charges of prima facie rape. There are inconsistencies in his statements over the June 4 incident for which we need his custody. He will be produced before a CBI court in Lucknow on Saturday,” said a CBI source in Lucknow.

MLA was planning to leave for Varanasi

The CBI’s early morning swoop took place a day after the Allahabad HC came down heavily on the Yogi Adityanath government over the case, asking it whether it proposed to arrest the accused MLA as promptly as it did in other cases. A CBI team along with UP cops picked him up from an Indiranagar residence of his relative in Lucknow at around 4:30am. Sengar was taken to the CBI headquarters in Hazratganj where he was interrogated till late in the evening.

His family said he had planned to leave for Varanasi for a visit to Kal Bhairav temple but was asked by the CBI to join the probe. The central agency team converted three FIRs earlier filed by the Unnao police to move ahead in the case.

According to the CBI press release, the first FIR was about the alleged rape of the girl, in which Sengar and a woman, Shashi Singh, had been named as accused. The second one was about rioting, in which four locals have been booked, and also the alleged killing of the victim’s father in judicial custody. Since the murder charge was added later by the police, it does not reflect in the CBI FIR.

The third case deals with allegations against the survivor’s father who was arrested under Arms Act and put in jail by the local police where he died in custody. He also suffered 18 serious injuries as per the post mortem report.

The victim has alleged that she was raped by the MLA at his residence on June 4, 2017 where she had gone with a relative seeking a job. She tried to immolate herself in front of the CM’s residence in Lucknow on April 8 after repeated pleas for justice were not heeded.

Sengar was kept at the CBI office in Lucknow till late in the night.

Temple strikes a raw nerve

‘People Upset That A Shrine Has Been Dragged Into A Controversy’

Rasana (Kathua): Deep inside Rasana, surrounded by a dense growth of trees and a jungle where horses and cattle graze, is the Baba Kali Veer mandir. It is here, a chargesheet by the J&K Police has said, that an eightyear-old girl was kept sedated and repeatedly violated by men who wanted to teach the Bakarwals, the community of nomads to which she belonged, a lesson.

The temple, a flat, singlestorey structure, has three doors and an equal number of locks. It is small enough for a man to cover the length in perhaps a dozen strides.

Dharampal Sharma, a member of one of the 12 Brahmin families — all related, and main accused Sanji Ram is one of them — that lives in the vicinity, said the three villages each have a key.

“People from three villages come to pay obeisance,” he said. “Baba Kali Veer is our kul devta (main god). Why would someone commit an unspeakable crime at the shrine. People are upset that a devasthan (god’s place) has been dragged into the controversy.”

The girl disappeared on January 10, waylaid by one of the accused while she was enquiring about her horses. He drugged her, allegedly raped her and then locked her in this temple. Three men then violated her repeatedly for four days before dumping her body in the woods. It was on January 17 that she was found.

On Friday, Monika Sharma, 27, the younger daughter of Sanji Ram and a pharmacology graduate, was at the temple to claim her father is innocent. “It is shameful that someone says an old man called his young son from college in UP to rape a little girl. My father is innocent. Let there be a fair inquiry,” she said. The police has hinted that duplicates were made of the key, whose sole custodian was Sanji Ram, to show that two other villages also had access to the temple.

Few in the village have the patience to hear that out. “What nonsense,” said Tripta Devi, one of the residents of Rasana. “The windows have grilles but they are open, people come through the day to seek blessings. Why would someone hide a girl in such a place? What we object to more than anything is insinuation that such a dirty thing could have happened there in the presence of our kul devta. Everyone is afraid of god.”

It’s a refrain one hears from Rasana to Hiranagar, Jammu to Kathua. Tell them that places of worship have been sullied before and that high priests and powerful pontiffs have been brought to the ground, and they look away or glare back. It’s an issue that touches a raw nerve.

During the initial investigation, there was no mention, said sources, of the temple. It was a cowshed that was believed to be the place where the girl was kept captive. Later police said she was hidden under a table in the temple, heavily sedated and covered with rags.

The temple where the girl was allegedly kept captive and tortured, in Rasana village, Kathua, 70km from Jammu district

Lawyer braves threats, says it is a fight for her daughter too

Jammu: On the desk in a small room of her house in Jammu, there is a framed photograph of a chubby, smiling girl. “That is my daughter,” Deepika Singh Rajawat said. “She is five years old and her name is Ashtami. I am fighting this case also for her.”

Rajawat, an advocate in Jammu, took up the case of the eight-year-old Bakarwal girl who was raped and murdered in January. Within days of her decision, even as many from the Bar took to the streets — some brandishing sticks — and shouted slogans against the state government, asking that the case be transferred from the J&K police’s crime branch to the CBI, she began getting threats to stay away.

Not one to be cowed into silence, she went on Facebook a day after the incident on April 5 and wrote: “The president of the Jammu High Court Bar Association mistreated me. He used unparliamentary language and threatened me not to appear in cases during a strike by the lawyers.”

Showing TOI the copy of a letter she received from the Jammu & Kashmir HC on Saturday that asks the in-charge of the security wing of the court to provide her protection during her appearances, she said, “But when I confronted the senior advocate and told him that I can fight any case I want, I was told there are ways to stop me. ”

The case, in the Kootah court right now as Rasana comes under its jurisdiction, saw a dramatic turn when recently lawyers tried to stop the chargesheet, which narrates in detail the crime against the Bakarwal girl, from being forwarded.

Asked if she is confident she will win as the crime branch, which is probing the rape-murder,has lost precious forensic evidence (the girl’s body was allegedly bathed and her clothes washed soon after she was found), she said, “It’s really messed up. The first few days after the crime was detected, some dreadful things happened. The local police station did not file an FIR. That happened only after 2-3 days. On January 17, her body was found. Then the ‘clean-up’ began. It was being hushed up. The policeman who did this is one of the eight accused.”

Unnao rape survivor undergoes age determination, gynaec test

Lucknow: The Unnao rape survivor was brought to Lucknow along with her family members by a sixmember CBI team and the Unnao police on Saturday. She was taken to the Dr RML Hospital for her medico-legal examination.

Under tight police and CBI protection, a gynaecologist at the hospital conducted age determination, gynaecological and X-ray tests, which took around three hours. Officials said that slides had been sent to the forensic science laboratory. Once the reports come, they will be handed over to the CBI.

The survivor was accompanied by her mother, uncle, brother and two cousins. Her mother stayed inside the hospital with the girl, while other family members waited outside.

The uncle of the rape survivor said, “Six members of the family, including the girl, were brought to Lucknow in two cars. We left from Unnao around 9.45am and reached the hospital after 11.30am. The girl and her mother are inside and we don’t know what is being done.” The survivor and her family members returned to Unnao at around 2.40pm.

Woman alleges SP corporator raped her

The CBI on Saturday claimed to have achieved a breakthrough in Himachal Pradesh’s Kotkhai gang-rape-cum-murder case with the arrest of one person. The agency, however, is yet to reveal the person’s identity. Agency officials said the arrested man does not belong to the group of six people whom the police had arrested last year. TNN

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