NEW DELHI: A bunch of lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court with a hurriedly written writ petition seeking trial of ‘rape-murder of a minor Rassana village girl in Kathua District’. The case was filed in the name of poor father of the deceased girl by some lawyers to refer the trial to an appropriate court in Chandigarh. The accused persons in the case were also produced before the trial court in Kathua, according to the information received in New Delhi.
Prof.Bhim Singh, Executive Chairman of the State Legal Aid Committee, J&K, a Sr. Advocate submitted a ‘submission’ before the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India. In support of his submission, Prof.Bhim Singh strongly argued urging the Supreme Court to ensure investigation into the case by an independent agency. Which may be, Central Bureau of Investigation or any other agency which the Govt. of India shall find suitable under the circumstances. Prof.Bhim Singh urged the Supreme Court to ask the state government in J&K why they are opposed to a fresh investigation and why the case should not be referred to any appropriate court in any part of India after appropriate and reasonable investigation.
Prof.Bhim Singh said that initial inquiry into the case was conducted and those who conducted the inquiry including a Sub-Inspector, a Head Constable and two police constables have been suspended. That needs investigation by an independent agency. There is a talk of town everywhere in Jammu region that the police investigation agency did not act in response to the senior police officers. The case was referred to a police officer from another district (Samba). Prof.Bhim Singh made a strong appeal to the Supreme Court to allow all the interested persons who know the background of the case. Prof.Bhim Singh also submitted a document (attached with this statement as submission), which has raised very important and serious issues concerning the attitude of the State Govt. Prof.Bhim Singh said that this issue is no more a state issue as it has crossed the limits of the United Nations. Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guperres and the issue deserves independent inquiry after scientific investigation and punishment to the culprits. The Chief Justice in his order fixed on 27th April, 2018 for hearing directing the petitioners to file appropriate reply.
Rassana murder case of minor girl needs to be probed by CBI or any other Central Agency, experienced in such matters
1. The facts of the case deserve attention of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to ensure that justice is delivered to all affected persons including the adopted parents of girl in question who was murdered after alleged rape.
2. The people on the whole in the state (except the Govt. of J&K) have been pressing for an inquiry by an independent committee to trace out the killers of the innocent girl.
3. The facts need to be considered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India hearing this matter under the special circumstances to ensure that justice is delivered and the culprits are punished without any delay.
4. The facts of the case need to be presented before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
5. That the parents of the girl originally migrated from Kashmir Valley about 40 years back according to the mother of the adopted girl. The parents (father and mother) remained settled in a village, Rassana, in Kathua District for several years in the forest land. They had two children (a boy and a girl). This girl whose dead body was traced on January 17, 2018 was an adopted daughter according to the parents. Prof.Bhim Singh (Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court) appearing before this Hon’ble Court was the only one from the civil society who met the mother and father of the girl on March 4, 2018 at their kacha hut they were living in the forest area in Rassana, District of Kathua, J&K.
6. That the girl disappeared from the grazing land where she had, according to the parents of the girl, gone to search the missing horses which according to the parents of the girl belonged to the family. The girl never return for a week.
7. That the dead body of the girl was located by someone on January 10, 2018 in a forest area nearly after seven days.
8. That the FIR filed by the police has not been traced out yet the chargesheet against the accused persons which was filed by Hiranagar Police on April 11, 2018 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hiranagar has mentioned a running story of facts which also deserves to be studied carefully. A copy of this chargesheet is being filed with this submission for the information of this Hon’ble Court. The important issues which deserve to be studied carefully, independently ensuring justice to the family of the girl deserve that the following issues;
i). How many children the parents of this deceased girl have other than the deceased girl?
ii). How may cattle/horses the family had which were sent to grazing field under the supervision of eight-year-old girl in the forest area?
iii). Why she was sent alone in the forest area?
iv). Was this matter was not brought to the notice to any person/police about the fact that this girl did not return home on the day i.e. January 10, 2018 when she had gone to look for the missing horses? What time?
v). What the local police or the family did to find out the whereabouts of the missing girl for seven days?
vi). Did this family get any problem with the village persons in the past?
vii). Was it a fact that the girl was kept in a temple for seven days in the village where villagers come everyday to pray in the village temple? The so-called temple mentioned in the chargesheet where this girl was allegedly kept for seven days is in the village.
viii). Was it possible to hide a human being/a girl in such a temple for seven days without food, water and so many other necessities?
ix). There are several questions which need to be studied and answered and important is did this Muslim/Gujjar family get any problem, tussle with the residents of the surrounding villages in the past 30 years. The adopted mother of the deceased girl had told Prof.Bhim Singh when he met the husband and wife in their house on March 4, 2018 that she along with her husband migrated from Anantnag (Kashmir) some 30 years back and has been staying in this area since then without any problem with anybody.
9. That Jammu Bar as well as the other Bars in Kathua and Udhampur had maintained that this case deserves to be handed over to an independent agency from outside the state so that justice shall be done to all. The Govt. of India had earlier held probes into several criminal cases in the past when the National Conference as well as the Congress party was in power.
10. This is unfortunate that the ruling parties (PDP & BJP) which have been ruling the state today had supported the demand for CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into several tragic incidents.
11. The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Opposition National Conference, which have been opposing, tooth and nail, the CBI probe demand into Rassana rape, had been in forefront in raising demand for CBI probe in Kashmir when they were in power.
12. In 2009 much publicized case of the killing of Nelofar and Asiya in South Kashmir's Shopian district, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's PDP, which was in Opposition then, demanded CBI probe alleging that the girls had been raped and killed by security forces, the NC, which was running coalition with the Congress then headed by Omar, had ordered Judicial Inquiry into the killing by Justice Muzaffar Jan, but finally handed over the case to the CBI for "fair probe''.
13. The PDP as an Opposition party then had refused to trust the police investigations but now as a ruling party, it was adamant on Crime Branch probe into Rassana rape and was refusing to handover the case to the CBI notwithstanding the public demand.
14. In 2006 when PDP-Congress were running the coalition and National Conference was in Opposition, the NC had forcefully demanded handing over of Kashmir sex scandal to the CBI. The PDP-Congress Government had handed over case to the CBI in which bigwigs like top bureaucrat, politicians, Advocates, security officers etc were involved. People here wanted to know from the PDP and NC that if their decisions to demand and order CBI probe into Shopian `killings' and Kashmir sex scandal were justified, how the demand for similar probe into Rassana incident can by unjustified? "Isn't it double standards of PDP and NC?
15. "If the Government is really interested in giving justice to Rassana rape victim and her family, it should handover the case to the CBI immediately for free, fair and impartial probe, which would lead to the arrest of real culprits,'' the people said, adding if all those arrested presently turned out to be the accused even in the CBI probe, they should be hanged.
16. CBI probe in J&K cases Following is list of some of the cases that were handed over to the CBI by NC and PDP when they were at the helm of affairs and by the Judiciary
* Killing of 5 villagers at Pathribal in 2000
* 2006 much-publicized Kashmir sex scandal
* 2009 death of two girls at Shopian
* 1998 case of 19 civilians' killing at Sailan, Surankote
* Scam in Farooq Abdullah led Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association in 2015.
* Custodial death of Rajneesh Sharma of Jammu, killed at Ram Munshi Bagh Police station, Srinagar in 2013.
* Missing of 12 year old child of Vijaypur in 2016.
* Missing of holy Quran from Srinagar museum in 2003. After 13 years of Crime Branch probe, the High Court had handed over the case to the CBI.
* There were many other cases in which the successive Jammu and Kashmir Governments and Judiciary had ordered the CBI inquiries.
It is respectfully submitted that the justice in this case can only be done if this tragic case is referred to some independent agency which may be CBI or other agency which should hold probe an investigation under the guidance of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. I assure all cooperation in this regard to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
ON BEHALF OF
STATE LEGAL AID COMMITTEE, J&K