This isn't the first story you've read this week but here's hoping its the last. An 8-year-old child of the country went missing on 10th January while grazing horses in the forest in Jammu & Kashmir. She was abducted by a retired revenue department official Sanji Ram and his accomplices, held captive in a temple, raped repeatedly and then was murdered.
The motive behind this crime? The girl belonged to the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community and Sanji Ram wanted to cause panic in the community forcing them to move out of the Rassana village in the Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district.
Sanji Ram enticed his nephew, a college dropout considered a juvenile at the time, though it has now been revealed that his DNA shows he's a 19-year-old, into committing the crime. The girl was kidnapped, held captive at a temple, where she was drugged and raped repeatedly by Sanji Ram, his son, Vishal Jangotra, and nephew. The nephew called Sanji Ram's son, who was studying in Meerut and asked him to reach the temple "if he wanted to satisfy his lust".
The 15-page charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch in the chief judicial magistrate's court on Monday reveals the gruesome details of the crime. A police sub-inspector, a head constable, and two special police officers were also charged with the crime, by taking bribes related to the case.
Her body was found near the temple and necessary DNA samples have been obtained. The killing has, however, turned into a communal battle instead of a reason for outrage. First the nomadic community protested after the case was handed over by Mehbooba Mufti government to the Crime Branch. Things further got out of hand after an outfit called Hindu Ekta Manch came out in support of the two accused, led by two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members of Mehboob's cabinet.
Somewhere in the chaos, it seems like the issue behind the case has been lost. As we all struggle to come to terms with the situation, it brings us to the question, how many wake-up calls does the country need?
Images: Newsclick, Scroll
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