When game keepers turn poachers........

....... law of the land must come in action

After painstaking investigation by the state Crime Branch, the charge sheet into the case of abduction, rape and murder of the minor Gujjar girl Aasifa Bano of Rasana village of Kathua district that took place on 10th March, 2018 was finally filed on 9th April, 2018 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua. It was filed against eight accused amidst protests and obstruction caused by some local lawyers of Kathua. 

The postmortem conducted confirmed the rape and subsequent murder of the deceased girl which necessitated registering a formal case by the police. The case is now with the court of law for judicial determination. The outcome of the case will be known seemingly after few years of trial in the court. Of course the fate of the case will depend purely up on the evidence collected and produced by the state Crime Branch in the court of law. But it is to be borne in mind that the vital evidence relating to the case was destroyed by few officials of Hira Nagar Police Station obviously to help the culprits to escape the dragnet of law. In addition to destruction of other evidence, these officials washed the apparels worn by the victim girl at the time of commission of crime of the possible blood/ semen stains. Though they too have been arrested and charge sheeted in the court of law yet, it will impinge upon the fate of the case during trial that too in absence of any eye-witness to the commission of crime. Whatever little evidence may have been collected by the Crime Branch may be insufficient to convict the culprits. However, if the ‘conscience of the society’ prevails the culprits may find their way either to the gallows or to the jails.

While the police identified and arrested the main culprit, a little known communal outfit ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’  launched  demonstration in Kathua district demanding the release of the culprit and simultaneous transfer of the case to the CBI. The case being purely criminal in nature and is not even remotely connected to the religion of either of the accused or the victim yet, the Manch  attempted to give a communal colour to the incident obviously to gain, in a vain bid, Hindu sympathy for achieving their nefarious designs. They even used the national flag to defend the culprits. The demand was actively supported by two ministers of the state who identified themselves with the protestors by physically joining them in Kathua. When the investigation and charge sheeting of the case by a legally constituted investigating agency is a legal procedure covered by Indian laws, then why this hulla- baloo was by some undesirable elements who pretend to be only ‘nationalists’? 

 Whereas secularism is the guiding principle of the state craft enshrined in the preamble of the Indian Constitution, the rights to life and dignified living are the fundamentals rights guaranteed by it. Therefore disrespecting secularism and denying the rights to life and dignified living are ultra-vires of the Indian Constitution.  It is a matter of grave concern that those who are required to uphold the constitution are hell bent upon to violate the same.

The law-keepers who are required to defend the constitution and the laws of the land committed the breach of trust.  The shameless lawyers who are expected to be well versed with the canons of Indian laws caused disruption in the due process of law and obstruction to the public servants in the discharge of their lawful duties by launching day long illegal protests in the court premises. Their unruly behaviour also prevented the CJM to entertain the charge sheet in the court room which he did later in the evening at his home. The black coated herd of sheep also engineered the call for Jammu bandh to protest the filing of the charge sheet. Much to their chagrin, the call was rejected by vast liberal majority of elite Jammuites. They were found oblivion to the oath taken by them under Advocate’s Act . The callous approach of the lawyers does not auger well for the rule of law and the Indian democracy. The ministers who swore in the name of the Constitution to show allegiance to it and to defend the laws of the land grossly violated the oath while supporting the illegal and unconstitutional demand of the Manch. They have to be held accountable for this criminal negligence. Similarly, the brazen criminal misconduct of some police officials of Hira Nagar Police Station to destroy the evidence is not only grave crime but the sheer violation of the oath taken by them at the attestation parade. They can accordingly be proceeded against departmentally in addition to the criminal proceedings instituted against them. Exemplary punishment to the erring cops will prevent such gory misconduct in future.

In an evolving Indian democracy, the violation of laws by the common, ignorant and illiterate is understandable but ‘Game keepers turning Poachers’ is heinous and worrisome. They need to be reined in to uphold the  Indian Constitution and the rule of law.