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SC directive to protect victim’s kin, lawyer

 NEW DELHI, April 16 - The Supreme Court today directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family members of the eight-year-old girl, who was brutally gangraped and murdered at Kathua in the state, along with their lawyer and a friend assisting them in pursuing the case.

The top court also took note of the victim’s father’s plea seeking transfer of the trial of the case from Kathua, preferably to Chandigarh, and sought the state government’s response.

The minor girl was allegedly held in captivity in a small village temple in the Kathua district of Jammu region by the eight accused for a week, during which she was kept sedated and raped several times before being beaten to death.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the victim’s father, that his family, their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat and their friend Talib Hussain, feared for their lives in a communally “polarised situation” at Kathua.

“As an interim measure, it is directed that the Jammu and Kashmir government will beef up security to the family and others and provide security to them,” the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said.

The court made clear that it would “go by the concept of fair trial and victim protection” and said that ordinarily, it was the duty of police to probe a case. It considered the plea that security personnel, who will guard the family members, their lawyer and the family friend, should be in plain clothes.

The father expressed satisfaction with the probe conducted so far by the state police, while vehemently opposing the plea of senior advocate Bhim Singh and lawyer Anuja Kapur that the investigation be transferred to CBI.

“Be that as it may, we do not intend to enter into this sphere (transfer of case to CBI) at this stage,” the bench said. – PTI

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