April 14, 2018
The gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in India’s conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir may have been buried but for a police officer who dug in his heels despite enormous opposition.
The brutal attack on the child has sent shockwaves throughout the country after details of the police charge sheet emerged. The charge sheet is a key document in the investigation and lists all the evidence collected by police for a trial in court.
The gruesome details revealed how the child was abducted, drugged and repeatedly raped before being killed and came after massive opposition to the case in the state. Groups of people, calling themselves the Hindu Ekta Manch, protested against the arrests of the accused.
Two BJP ministers in the state government, Chowdhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, also attended rallies in support of the accused. The local lawyers’ association also reportedly opposed the registration of the case. Under these circumstances, police were under tremendous pressure during the investigation.
Undeterred by the communal hatred unleashed by the case, a Kashmiri Pandit police officer continued to investigate until the accused were allegedly caught with circumstantial evidence of their assaults. Investigators now claim the child was assaulted inside a temple in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ramesh Kumar Jalla, the Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) and his team completed their investigations in what was described as “record time,” and submitted the charge sheet in the court on April 9. This was at least 10 days ahead of the 90-day deadline fixed by the High Court, amid protests from groups including a powerful lobby of lawyers from Jammu.( Asia Times )