New Delhi: The accused in the brutal gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, who had claimed to be a juvenile, will be tried as an adult, lawyers said today.
Medical tests have confirmed that the man was between 19 and 23 years in age.
Seven other men are accused in the Kathua rape case, which will be heard at a fast-track court in Punjab's Pathankot.
The court had ordered the medical test after the defense appealed that one of the accused be treated as a minor, citing his matriculation certificate. The investigation promptly sought an age determination test.
The 8-year-old girl was kidnapped from her village, Rasana, in January and was drugged, starved and gangraped for a week before her head was smashed in with a stone. The gruesome crime triggered outrage across the country.
The police said the assault was an attempt to push out a nomadic Muslim community from Hindu majority areas of Jammu.
In May, the Supreme Court accepted the appeal of the victim’s family to shift the case to Pathankot from Srinagar after the matter triggered a backlash in Jammu.
Protests were held even at the premises of the Jammu court, with lawyers barring entry to the police, who had gone to file a charge-sheet.
Rallies were held to show support for the accused, which even drew a couple of BJP ministers. They had to step down later.
Advocate representing the victim’s family, Deepika Rajawat, said she faced threats from members of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, who wanted her to drop the case....