Omar, Mehbooba, Sajad, Faesal, others hail verdict

Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone and several other mainstream leaders have welcomed the verdict in Kathua gang-rape and murder case.

National Conference vice-president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Amen to that. The guilty deserve the most severe punishment possible under law. And to those politicians who defended the accused, vilified the victim & threatened the legal system no words of condemnation are enough.”

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also welcomed the judgment. “Welcome the judgment. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where a 8-year-old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Mehbooba also hailed the Crime Branch of J&K Police, which investigated the case.

“Relieved about Kathua verdict. Credit goes to crime branch team lead by IGP Mujtaba, SSP Jala, Addl SP Naveed , Dep SP Shwetambri ,@DeepikaSRajawat & Talib for ensuring facts came to light despite hindrances. People all across  too galvanised support & stood up for this child,” she said in another tweet.

Former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal hailed police for securing the conviction of the accused. “Congratulations to @JmuKmrPolice for getting Raisina Kathua rapists convicted. Politicians tried their best to sabotage the movement for justice to A (the victim). But the Honble Court and the law enforcement agencies stood their ground. Pray we never have to see such horror again,” Faesal tweeted.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone welcomed the verdict:  “I welcome the decision of the court to convict most of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case. Those convicted must be given strict punishment to set a strong deterrent for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes. True justice for the 8-year-old will be when such crimes against the women stop in the society.”

NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said that the judgment has increased their faith in the judiciary system of the country. “Nevertheless notwithstanding the politics that was played over the heinous crime, the justice finally stands delivered. The incident had agonized the soul of every right thinking person. I feel deeply for the courageous family of the victim girl, who has risen to become a symbol of women’s fight against sexual violence. We believe the verdict should have been served much earlier, however now that it has been delivered, we welcome it,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir hailed the Pathankote Court’s decision to convict six persons in horrendous rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Rasana and sought exemplary punishment to culprits.

Mir also emphasized that the trial in similarly situated cases of rapes and murders in the country and the state should be completed on fast-track basis to ensure timely justice to victims.

CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said, “The gruesome gang-rape and murder is crime committed by the enemies of humanity. Crime is a crime irrespective of criminal’s caste, colour and creed. Unfortunately, some fringe elements had tried to communalize this incident but due to intervention of judiciary, people of the state and the country they could not succeed.”

Former MLA and AIP chairman, Er Rasheed while welcoming the verdict said: “It is a slap on the face of those forces who tried their best to communalize the heinous crime and even disgraced the sanctity of national flag to protect the criminals.”

Rasheed in a statement said the police officers who investigated the case deserve appreciation as “despite all negative propaganda and campaign they didn’t succumb to the pressure and discharged their professional duties in accordance with the law.”

“It is high time to take action against those who tried to polarise the situation in Jammu but people of Jammu rejected their inhuman and communal politics over a shameful incident,” he said.

He also said that the government must file an appeal to seek capital punishment for the guilty as the nature of the crime demands so.

Former Union minister Prof. Saifuddin Soz also welcomed the verdict thus: “I heartily welcome the court’s decision to punish the rapists and killers of 8 year old girl of Kathua, last year. It is a verdict which deserves to be appreciated by all citizens of India.”

He said that among others, the J&K Police deserves appreciation for an unbiased investigation of the case, especially at the early stage of investigation. He added that the team of lawyers fighting for the innocent child also deserves great appreciation, especially Advocate Dipeeka Rajawat, who had raised her voice against this crime, nationally and internationally.

NC former MLA Shameema Firdous welcomed and verdict and said the convicts should be hanged. 

Chairman PDF Hakeem Yaseen said it was heartening that “justice has been done to the victim”. He said the verdict is a big relief to the victim family and a big victory of judicial system in the country. He has also appreciated Jammu and Kashmir High Court for monitoring the case and ensuring its free and fair trial.

BAR EXPRESSES DISSATISFACTION

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, expressed “dissatisfaction” over the sentence awarded to the convicted in the Kathua case.

In a statement here today, the Bar said the three convicted persons awarded life term, have committed a dastardly act, therefore, they deserved death penalty.

“They were found guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping, drugging, gang-raping and killing of the victim eight year old Bakerwal girl. But they have been awarded life imprisonment and fine u/s 120-B, 302, 376-D, 328 and 360 RPC,” it said.

The Bar said the court awarded them “lenient punishment” of life imprisonment for no obvious reason when as a matter of fact they “deserved death penalty”.

The court has also convicted other three persons u/s 201 and 343 RPC and sentenced them to five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 50000/-. “Though these three persons were part of the conspiracy, being police officials they deserved the maximum punishment prescribed by Section 201 and 343 RPC.”

The Court acquitted Vishal Jangotra, the son of Sanjeev Ram, the mastermind, by giving him the benefit of doubt, “to which he was not entitled under law”.

“However, notwithstanding the aforesaid lenient punishment awarded to the accused persons, the judgment pronounced by the Pathankot Court is a slap on the face of all those, who tried to communalize the crime, vilify the victim and came out openly in support of the accused persons.”

“The verdict will prevent others from committing such acts on the hapless victims and will serve as a deterrent against those who derive pleasure in committing such beastly acts,” the statement said.

“The Bar Association also appreciates the steps taken by the Pathankot Court in completing the trial of the case within seventeen months, during the course of which it recorded the statement of 114 witnesses without availing a single holiday during this period,” it said.

It hailed the court for pronouncing its verdict swiftly, so as to ensure justice to the victim family.