Obstruction of justice in Asifa case disgraceful: Amnesty

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Human rights group Amnesty International on Thursday termed the attempts by some lawyers and a Hindu group to obstruct the investigation and prosecution of the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, as “disgraceful”.

“It is disgraceful that some lawyers and members of the BJP are trying to introduce religious prejudice into the investigation of this horrific crime, and block its investigation,” Zahoor Wani, Senior Campaigner, Amnesty International India, said.

Wani said that the fact that the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had to order police protection for the lawyer of the victim’s parents showed “how deep the bigotry around this case runs”.

The Bar Association of Kathua has opposed the arrest of suspects in the case.

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Eight people, including the mastermind Sanji Ram, have been charged with abduction, rape and murder of the “Bakerwal” (nomadic) minor in Kathua’s Rasana village in January.

Investigations have revealed that the victim was held in a temple, drugged, repeatedly raped and finally murdered to scare the Bakerwal community out of the village.

Sanji Ram has also been charged with bribing local policemen, including a Sub-Inspector and a Head Constable, to destroy vital evidence.

On Wednesday, lawyers in Kathua staged a protest and attempted to prevent the police from filing a charge-sheet in the case.

The Jammu Bar Association on Thursday reiterated its demand for a CBI probe into the case, asserting that it did not support the accused but wanted a fair probe.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday assured that the law “will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people”.

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She said that proper procedures were being followed and investigations were “on the fast track and justice will be delivered”.



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