Kathua Rape case victims lawyer Deepika Rajawat gives the thumbs up after the case was transferred to the Pathankot court in the Punjab state today.
Welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court in the Kathua gang rape case, while mainstream parties from the PDP to National Conference to Congress echoed the sentiment, saying they hope the victim’s family gets justice.
But the J&K BJP made no secret of its disappointment with the decision to shift the trial out of Kathua and not hand over the case to the CBI.
State BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said shifting the trial to Pathankot “gives a wrong impression about Jammu & Kashmir”.
“It is not only a setback to the state government, which had assured all security for a free and fair trial in the state itself, but also the civil society here as the shifting of the case to Pathankot means there was no confidence even in them,” Sethi said.
Taking to Twitter soon after the Supreme Court moved the Kathua trial to Pathankot, Mehbooba Mufti said : “I welcome today’s decision by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Kathua case. This will go a long way to boost the morale of our @JmuKmrPolice force who in the face of great adversity have left no stone unturned to ensure that the deceased’s family gets justice”.
PDP leader and government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said: “That campaign (for handing over the case to CBI) was misplaced and the Supreme Court has rightly said no to it. The legal process is on. We hope we will be able to give justice to the family as soon as possible”.
J&K Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said: “Our aim is that the child should get justice. Whatever decision Supreme Court has given, nobody can have any objection to it. Everyone wants that there should be trial, a fair and time-bound trial. If the trial is shifted to Pathankot so that both sides can put their viewpoint fairly, we have no objection to it”.
National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said : “This is a court decision. They have done well by not handing over the case to the CBI because that was also the stand of the victim’s family. As far as shifting of the case to Pathankot is concerned, I think the state government was totally opposed to the shifting of the case outside the state. Now that it has been shifted, we will see the reaction of the state government”.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the family members and relatives of the accused who have been on a hunger strike at Kootah Morh on the Jammu-Kathua national highway.
“On whom shall we have faith,” was the first reaction of accused Sanji Ram’s wife and daughters when they heard about the Supreme Court order.
Hindu Ekta Manch secretary and former Kootah sarpanch of Kant Kumar Sharma said: “It shows how helpless we people are. We have been peacefully agitating for over a month, demanding a CBI enquiry to ensure justice prevails in the matter, but no one is ready to listen to us’’.
Hindu Ekta Manch president and former state BJP secretary Vijay Kumar Sharma said: “It has broken our last hope. People were hopeful of a Supreme Court order for a CBI inquiry, but nothing of that sort has happened”.
He also asked the BJP to “explain… except for sharing power, what is the one national interest that it got the PDP to implement in the last three years in the state”.