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Case won’t be shifted outside state: Law minister

Trial in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old child from Kathua won’t be shifted outside the state and is likely to be conducted in a Jammu court on fast track basis, government said Monday.

“It (trial) will be held on fast track basis and within the state,” minister for law Abdul Haq Khan told.

Khan said since there was no fast track court in Kathua, where the trial was to begin Monday, the case may be shifted to Jammu.

The family of the victim has approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the case from the court of chief judicial magistrate Kathua to outside the state for a fair trial.

The minister said the government was committed to a fair and speedy trial in the case. He said there were more than 100 witnesses in the case who would not be able to travel outside the state for deposition.

“We will get the best team of public prosecutors in the case. If the case is taken outside the state then we can’t have control over it,” said the minister.

On April 14, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had requested the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to set up a special fast track court in Kathua for trial of the accused in the case.

The Bakerwal child had gone missing grazing horses in Rassana village of Kathua district on January 10. Her body was found a week later in the nearby forests.

Police have arrested eight accused for involvement in the gruesome crime. The charge-sheet in the case revealed spine-chilling details of how the victim was starved, held captive, sedated and gang-raped over a week before being killed.

Describing the incident to be the “first ever heinous crime” of its kind the state has witnessed, the minister said the government was committed to speedy justice in the case.

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