Kathua girl was drugged, held captive in temple: CB

Jammu, April 05, 2018 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, medical investigation into the rape and murder of Aasifa Bano, the eight-year-old victim, has revealed that the child was drugged and raped before she was killed. Forensic evidence has also confirmed that the minor girl was held captive inside a temple at Devasthan. Aasifa went missing from her native village of Rasana in Hira Nagar area of Kathua district in Jammu region on January 10, 2018 and her mutilated body was found on January 17, 2018 near the village.

Deepak Khajuria (SPO), Vishal, Sanji Ram, Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar and Surinder Verma (SPO) perpetrated the heinous crime. She was strangulated to death. The investigation in the murder and rape of the victim girl was concluded by the Crime Branch (CB) of Kashmir police and a charge-sheet against the killers is likely to be filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua. A CB official confirmed to the media that the charge-sheet would be filed on coming Monday or Tuesday.

The BJP, which shares power with PDP in occupied Kashmir, demanded a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi-based investigative agency, in the case, but the demand was turned down by the local administration.

Hindu Ekta Manch, an NGO formed by a local BJP leader, also staged protests in favour of the rapists and murderers of Aasifa as well as against the CB. According to official, Deepak Khajuria (SPO) and Vishal are directly involved in the horrific crime, while Sanji Ram, Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar and Surinder Verma (SPO) were either part of the conspiracy or in know of the crime.

Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, who is the main conspirator, is also custodian of the premises of the temple where Aasifa was held captive. The investigation, an official said, has revealed the crime was committed to drive out Muslim Bakerwal families living in Rasana and adjoining villages. Police sub-inspector Anand Datta and head constable Tilak Raj were also arrested for destroying crucial evidence in the case.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case said that the viscera report had established that Aasifa was drugged by the killers so that she would not cry for help, he said. The official said the medical report has also revealed the cause of Aasifa’s death was asphyxiation (the state or process of being deprived of oxygen). “This also strengthens our investigation that the victim was strangulated to death,” the official said. He also disclosed that DNA test of hair strands recovered from the temple has revealed they were Aasifa’s.

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