Even when they were taking the eight-year-old to kill after raping her, they stopped to gang-rape her again, and then killed her, says the chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua amid opposition by lawyers of the court on Monday.
The chargesheet says the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakherwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy by a former revenue official Sanji Ram, his minor nephew, local police officers to scare away the minority nomadic Bakarwals from the area to gain access to land.
“In the course of investigation, it transpired that Sanji Ram was against the settlement of Bakarwals in Rasana Kootah, and Dhamyal area, and always kept on motivating the members of his community of the area not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance,” the chargesheet says.
Sanji Ram, the main conspirator, was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Ram's juvenile nephew and his friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias "Shamma".
“During investigation it has become abundantly clear that the accused had a reason to act against the Bakarwal Community and hence the conspiracy ultimately resulting in the gruesome rape and brutal murder of an innocent budding flower, a child of only 8 years of age.”
The juvenile, a school dropout, turned out to be the main player in the abduction, repeated rape of the child along with Jangotra and Khajuria, and finally murder, says the crime branch report. His mother, sister of main accused Sanji Ram, was also complicit in attempting to protect him from charges and agreed to pass on bribe to head constable Tilak Raj who was her classmate during school days. Tilak Raj, in return, made attempts at covering up the murder, by swaying the investigation, forging proofs, and providing the juvenile accused with a script to clear him of all charges, said the 15-page chargesheet.
According to the crime branch report, Ram asked his nephew to kidnap the girl, drug her unconscious and hide her inside a local Hindu prayer hall he was in-charge of, before finally directing to kill her as the Bakerwal community began agitating about their missing girl.
"On 10th January, 2018 the juvenile heard the voice of the girl who was enquiring … about her horses when he was on the roof of his Mamu (accused Sanji Ram’s) house. He immediately rushed down stairs, took 3 Manars (ayurvedic drug used as sedative) and keys of Devisthan and told Asifa that he had seen her horses. He led her to jungle and also called accused Mannu who was already waiting for his signal. The juvenile (caught) hold of her neck and covered her mouth with one of his hands and pushed her and she fell on the ground. Accused Mannu held her legs and the JCL administered Manars’ one by one forcibly to the victim. The victim fell unconscious and was raped by the juvenile. Thereafter, Mannu also attempted to rape her but could not do it. Later on, they took the girl and kept her inside Devisthan under the table over two plastic mats and then covered her with two darees."
On January 11, six days before the child's body was recovered from the Rassana forest on January 17, the juvenile phoned his cousin Jangotra and asked him to return from Meerut where he was studying if he wanted to "satisfy his lust", the chargesheet stated.
The Crime Branch chargesheet says the accused Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra had gangraped the girl inside “Devisthan” after she was kidnapped on January 10, an allegation backed with forensic evidence of hair strands.
Before killing the girl, she was taken out of Devisthan to a nearby culvert. There another accused Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu told the other accused that he wanted to rape her before she is killed.
The chargesheet says, “as such once again the little girl was gang-raped first by the accused Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and then by JCL ( juvenile)”.
After committing the “barbaric act of rape on the minor victim the accused Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu kept her neck on his left thigh and started applying force with his hands on her neck in order to kill her”.
“As accused Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu was unsuccessful in killing her, another accused JCL killed her by pressing his knees against her back and strangulated the girl by applying force on both the ends of her Chunni. Thereafter, the accused JCL, in order to make sure that the victim is dead, hit her twice on her head with a stone.”
The accused wanted to dispose of her body in a canal at Hiranagar but as the vehicle could not be arranged in time the accused on spot decided to dump the girl at “Devisthan” being safe place till its disposal. The four accused lifted the body and dumped it in Devisthan while Sanji Ram was keeping watch from outside. Thereafter the accused left for their homes.
Later on January 15, they failed to throw Asifa’s body into a canal in Hira Nagar as the driver named Kishore didn’t turn up with a vehicle as planned. The CB says Sanji Ram directed Asifa’s body be dumped in the jungle nearby fearing people visiting the Devisthan might notice it. Ram’s nephew threw Asifa’s body in the jungle as Vishal kept a watch and both went home. The body was found on January 17.
(Inputs from agencies)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine