The trial in the Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-old-year girl from Jammu and Kashmir begins today at the District and Sessions Court of Kathua and the Jammu Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, to ensure communal neutrality and make a justified hearing. Meanwhile the outcry of justice for the Kathua victim has spread across entire nation.

Scores of people have hit the streets, thousands of protestors gathered up at Jantar Mantar under the banners of “Not in My Name” movement, protests outreached the Cartar Road of Mumbai – everyone is seeking answers and justice for the Kathua rape case. While in Kathua, the Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors – both Sikhs – to ensure communal neutrality in the hearing as the entire case was based on Hindu-Muslim polarisation. The trial of the brutal gang-rape and murder case of eight-year-old Asifa Bano will begin at the District and Sessions Court of Kathua – after almost three months since the incident.

All eight alleged accused, including the main accused – a juvenile, will be presented in court and the chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will be committing one of the charge sheets of the case. Previously, the trial of the same case were obstructed by a group of lawyers who trying to stop the prosecution of the case, in support of the accused of the horrendous incident. This had led to intense outrage among people and the Supreme Court took a serious note when the lawyers tried to obstruct. On April 13, the Kathua Bar association received a notice from the Supreme Court, initiating a case on its own record saying such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”.

The Supreme Court’s intervention and rap on the knuckle to the Bar Council will ensure that the trails of the Kathua rape case will be conducted peacefully, without any obstructions. In fact, the Bar Association of Kathua has already tried to retract its statement of providing legal assistance free of cost to the accused and said “after going through the charge sheet presented by the crime branch it is revealed that the allegations against the accused persons are very grave and as such this case is to be dealt with in a professional way. We have withdrawn our offer to contest the case free of cost.” Once again, let’s hope justice be granted.

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