In what may be a worrisome development for Jammu & Kashmir Police, a Jammu court has ordered an FIR to be registered against the six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) which was probing the Kathua rape-murder case, in which an eight-year-old Gujjar Bakarwal girl was raped and murdered.
The Court of the Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in an order dated October 22 to an application filed by Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Sahil Sharma, who were witnesses, has allowed for a case to be filed against six policemen who have been identified as RK Jalla (Former SSP Crime Branch, Jammu), Peerzada Naveed (Additional Superintendent of Police Crime Branch, Jammu), Shwetambari Sharma (Deputy SP Crime Branch, Jammu), Nassir Hussain (Deputy SP Crime Branch Jammu) Urfan Wani (sub-inspector crime branch Jammu) and Kewal Kishore (crime branch).
The court order reads as follows, “the applicants were coerced/tortured/forced by applicants (SIT) to give false evidence against accused Vishal Jangotra” seeking the registration of FIR. In the two-page order, the court has directed SSP Jammu to file an FIR and report compliance by the next date of a hearing scheduled on November 7.
The SIT was constituted by the then PDP-BJP government headed by Mehbooba Mufti to investigate the rape and murder of the girl belonging to the nomadic Bakarwal community in Kathua early last year. The case was also shifted to Pathankot following a Supreme Court order after lawyers in Kathua prevented Crime Branch officials from filing a charge-sheet.
Vishal Jangotra, who was purported by the left-liberals to be the prime accused of the case and hounded incessantly by the whole cabal of media and pseudo-intellectuals, had been found to be victim of the SIT’s malafide intentions as they framed him until counter evidence emerged. He was not only arrested from Meerut but also tortured and harassed by the J&K police officials. In their complaint against the SIT, Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma, and Sahil Sharma claimed that the investigators tortured them to depose against Jangotra. The three had first recorded their allegations during investigations in the case when they were produced before a magistrate for recording their statement.
Vishal Jangotra was purported by the left liberals to be the prime accused of the case, and on whose guilt very few people actually believed. According to the chargesheet submitted before the court, Vishal was present in Kathua on 12 January, when the abduction and another accused had called Vishal from Meerut in order to not only ‘satiate his lust’, but also dispose off her dead body after the murder. It was later established that the evidence against him was false and he was acquitted.
According to the relatives of Vishal, he was sitting at his college examinations in Meerut on 12 January. Not only that, but also Vishal withdrew some money from an ATM in Meerut on 12 and 15 January, and also registered the same in his bank passbook, in contrast to the claims filed in the chargesheet. In order to support their claims, the relatives of Vishal Jangotra, assisted by the defence lawyers, submitted all the required evidences before the court.
The incident had triggered nationwide outrage. Two BJP ministers in the state government at the time, Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga, had publicly endorsed demands from family members of the accused for a CBI probe in the case. Facing a backlash, the two resigned. The Kathua-case had a massive fallout with politics over it peaking with communally sensitive reactions coming in from Jammu and Kashmir.