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Kathua rape case: 3 witnesses allege custodial torture by police, SC to hear matter on 16 May

Three witnesses in the Kathua Rape Case have alleged torture by the Jammu & Kashmir Police while recording their statements and have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The matter was presented before the Chief Justice of India who agreed to list the petition for Wednesday, 16th of May.

The petitioners are classmates of one of the accused, Vishal Jangotra, and were summoned by the Police as witnesses. They have alleged that they were “coerced to make statements contrary to the fact that Vishal Jangotra was with them at Miranpur, Muzzafar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh from January 7, 2018, to February 10, 2018.” They further added, “During that period, he along with petitioners attended examinations and practical papers.” 

The petitioners claimed that they were abused, humiliated and beaten for stating their version of events and asserted that they gave true statements before the learned Magistrate Jammu under Section 164A of the J&K Criminal Procedure Code. They have alleged physical and mental torture by the J&K Police from 19th March to 31st March 2018. We had earlier reported that villagers in Kathua had also claimed to have been tortured by the J&K Police crime department under the pretext of questioning and were fleeing their homes in fear.

We had earlier reported that the accused Vishal Jangotra was spotted in Muzaffarnagar withdrawing money from an ATM around the time the rape took place. Reports had also emerged which stated that Vishal appeared for his university exams. However, an investigation team will investigate whether Vishal really appeared for his exams or he a dummy appeared for the exams on his behalf. The locals are also not convinced about the legitimacy of the investigation conducted into the rape. and have dubbed it a ‘filmy Kahani’.

Various demands of CBI inquiry into the crime were rejected by the Supreme Court which transferred the case to the Pathankot High Court. However, a committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) formed under the direction of the Supreme Court had concluded that demands for a CBI inquiry appeared justifiable. The same committee had also concluded that the media had misreported the entire episode and concluded that lawyers of the Jammu Bar Association never sided with the accused while giving them a clean chit.  All the accused in the case have pleaded not guilty and have sought a narco test.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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