Conundrums of Kathua

Is Kathua killing a rehash of an overzealous NGO to try and make Narendra Modi look bad?

Is Kathua killing a rehash of an overzealous NGO to try and make Narendra Modi look bad?
Is Kathua killing another attempt by Lutyens Delhi to try and make Narendra Modi look bad?

The tragic rape and murder of a child in Kathua, Jammu province, has become a political cause célèbre thanks to the Lutyens glitterati, who moved at lightning speed to extract support from the United Nations, a body that possibly still craves to gift the State to Pakistan under the discredited Dixon and other formulae.

This would probably be the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir after 1947 that the Chief Minister is being asked to approve and endorse, not an extension of some Central law to the State, but a surrender of State power to a court of law outside its territory.

It is poetic justice, therefore, that the hyperventilating hordes have created a poignant politico-legal crisis for Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in their haste to get the high profile case transferred to Chandigarh on the spurious plea that the Kathua district sessions court will not do justice to the case. The aspersion is utterly unwarranted but follows the script perfected after the Gujarat riots, when well-connected Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)s descended on the Supreme Court and moved the trials to Mumbai. It’s yesterday once more.

Except that this is Jammu and Kashmir, a State distanced from India due to the ill-conceived Article 370 (Pandit Nehru, when will we be free from your cursed legacy?), a ‘temporary’ clause so magnetic that some judges of the apex court desire to make it a permanent feature of the Constitution.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, however, will have to make a political decision to permit the Supreme Court to transfer the trial outside the State. It is a critical test for her at a time of plunging popularity and growing dissensions within her People’s Democratic Party. For over two years, Mufti was unable to hold by-elections in her family seat of Anantnag and finally brought her brother into the Assembly via the Legislative Council. A political non-entity, he is more an emotional prop than a support.

When the Supreme Court takes up the transfer petition, it will issue a notice to the State and Central Governments for their views. The Centre may not object to the transfer per se, but it could ask the Court to choose an alternative other than that preferred by lawyers who have inveigled themselves into the case. As is well-known, the State prosecutes murder cases, and the J&K administration is eager to handle this case.

It must have taken some masterful management for persons from the Lawyers Collective, an NGO, to get themselves anointed as private lawyers for the victim’s parents. It is these lawyers who are seeking transfer of the case outside the State; they should not be allowed to select the forum of their choice.

Things are more complex for Mehbooba Mufti. This would probably be the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir after 1947 that the Chief Minister is being asked to approve and endorse, not an extension of some Central law to the State, but a surrender of State power to a court of law outside its territory. The Chief Justice of the State to which the Supreme Court transfers the case will decide which trial court judge shall hear the case, and that judge will determine the course of the trial. His judgment will be momentous.

Mehbooba Mufti will have to tell the court that her administration is unable to ensure a free and fair trial inside Jammu and Kashmir. This would be a delicious self-indictment.

If the Supreme Court decides to shift the trial elsewhere in view of heightened emotions within the State, it will be tantamount to a major erosion of the State’s powers, with likely positive consequences in the future. A trial outside Jammu and Kashmir would benefit the accused who have been subjected to such a high decibel vilification campaign by our well-heeled urban elite that the voice of reason is in danger of being choked, and administrative malpractice may be difficult to expose.

A dispassionate environment could do wonders for the accused. As it is, in Kathua on April 16, 2018, the judge lambasted the State Crime Branch for filing an incomplete challan (charge-sheet). As the murder happened in January, and successive investigations (in which investigators changed at Srinagar’s whims) were conducted over three months, and an elaborate conspiracy to rape and murder was constructed and circulated to all media and social media, there was no excuse for an incomplete challan.

The Kathua murder case (it has yet to be legally established that the child was raped), is also a chilling reminder of the judge B. H. Loya case.

The learned judge also berated the Crime Branch for not giving copies of the charge-sheet to the accused. All accused asked to be subjected to a Narco-test, which, prima facie, is evidence of innocence. The accused have only one demand – that the Central Bureau of Investigation should probe the case. A related issue is Jammu’s opposition to the well-funded and fraudulent manner in which illegal Rohingya infiltrators are being pushed into Hindu regions, to trigger the flight of Hindus.

The Kathua murder case (it has yet to be legally established that the child was raped), is also a chilling reminder of the judge B. H. Loya case. The judge died in December 2014, but it was only in 2016 that some persons decided to ‘investigate’ his death; in 2017 they alleged it was murder.

The rapid internationalisation of the case further reveals the reach of the conspirators. The UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric (April 14) asked New Delhi to ensure that the perpetrators of the “horrific” Kathua rape and murder case are brought to justice.

This is simply amazing. Europe is being swamped with illegal immigrants who are raping women and girls with unsettling impunity, yet the UN Secretary-General has not seen fit to address the issue. Yet his office has the temerity to pontificate about a tragedy that is being visibly exploited by vested interests with an eye on the crucial elections in Karnataka. Any honest investigation will prove that this is a crime of perversion, a painful statistic in a genre of crime that has become a national epidemic.

Mehbooba Mufti, who closely monitored the case and knew about the changing of investigators to get a certain kind of verdict, is now caught between the devil and the deep sea. She has raised a storm, and it is threatening to suck her out of the safety of the harbour.

She has to ensure that the case presented in court can hold water, and survive dilution of State sovereignty if the case is transferred outside Jammu and Kashmir. The ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court; if it has decided to transfer the case, it will not take kindly to the State Government’s resistance.

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Sandhya Jain is a writer of political and contemporary affairs. A post graduate in Political Science from the University of Delhi, she is a student of the myriad facets of Indian civilisation. Her published works include Adi Deo Arya Devata. A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa, 2004; and Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study, Rupa, 2009. She has contributed to other publications, including a chapter on Jain Dharma in “Why I am a Believer: Personal Reflections on Nine World Religions,” ed. Arvind Sharma, Penguin India, 2009.
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20 COMMENTS

  1. It is important for the case to be investigated by the CBI and fast tracked outside J&K. In fact given that fact that it is not only Narendra Modi and Jayalalitha who could influence the court in their jurisdictions as Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, there is every reason why cases involving public servants and all politicised cases are tried outside the states where the crime. is committed.

  2. Stephane Dujarric should shut her mouth up and let India handle its own matters. The UN has no jurisdiction on these issues and will do better if it concentrates on other issues haunting the world, In any case, the UN is a defunct body with brains detached and residing in Saudi Arabia with camels, so wouldn’t it be better for it to STFU?

  3. Any how remove mehbooba mufty from cm post because she and her father is also supporter of terrorist.
    His late father blackmail central govt for free terrorist against his daughter freeness.
    His daughter mahbooba mufti surrendered to teriost and presented by his late father thait teriost kidnepd his daughter and wants to free some teriost against mahbooba mufti .
    And teriost can’t raped mahbooba mufty why?
    They can’t torcher mahbooba mufti why?

  4. This case is an attempt by M Mufti to allow rohingyas to settle in Jammu and keep the pandits out. That the girl was raped and murdered is a fact that is established. Who did it, is not. From the looks of it, it looks like the beneficiaries of the plot may have done it.

    • Actually Sir, the rape is not a settled fact, though the allegation may be true. Certainly the investigation has been poor, and the Rohingyas are a new national menace.

  5. Nice article but ill timed. In your over-enthusiasm, you have just fore-warned and cautioned them about the transfer of the case outside the state of J&K. We all know that actual reason behind this case is to change the demographic composition of the Jammu province, specially the outskirts of Jammu city itself.
    The real and the legal facts of the case are very different from the well articulated half truths of the so called “Messiah’s” of the civil society. The case outside the state of J&K would, in all probability, would settle several difficult issues. Have patience.

  6. I am relieved that at least reasonable voices are being heard in this conundrum and insanity regarding the case. The charge sheet filed by the Crime Branch has multiple loopholes and not surprised that the Court has reprimanded the investigating team for filing an incomplete challan. We all wish that the victim finally gets justice. A fair probe is an ultimate need.

  7. Excellent summary. Shocking to what extent a party will surrender court sovereignty to a foreign body, or try to derail an election at the other end of the country (which increasingly looks like it is no longer a Congress cakewalk). As for the NGOs, is the government going to do anything when the sell-outs work with such impunity is the question.

  8. Conspirators apart, what makes the silly media of India go to over drive when there is something even remotely harmful for India or Hindus or patriots of India. Besides Petrodollars which are shared by L-group, esp the Media there are other motives to do all this. Now someone like you can write some piercing details elaborating those motives and more importantly how can they be nullified.

  9. a nice article – pl write on Unnavo also – there also people are unnecessarily trying to accuse ruling party member in rape & murder- the old man died on his own in jail -just like loya died of heart attack in 3rd bed – pl save the mla and his brother

    • This is more complicated. The girl’s father was injured in a scuffle with accused family when he was arrested. Police SHOULD have taken him for medical examination and treatment. They let him rot in jail for a few days and that is how he died.
      This negligence and cold bloodedness of UP Police is a terrible indictment of the system. We do need urgent police reforms.
      The case itself is now with the courts.

  10. Madame Sandhya Jain is at her literary best in articulating an issue of current debate, nationally and even internationally. The gravity of the subject and the duplicity of those who want to see Bharat break down are exposed to immaculate perfection. The description of the pitiable situation in which Mehbooba is caught is done with great narrative skill.We are yet to know the unadulterated truth as to what happened in Kautha. Several dimensions have been given to the tragic death of an eight-year-old girl child. Sandhyaji has knocked at the very credibility of the system that accords special status to J&K.It is really a conundrum that makes escape difficult for CM Mehbooba.

  11. Congress sponsored MSM and anti India forces abroad are at it. Again. Modi govt should quickly walk out of alliance and impose Prez rule in J&K. Start the process of deporting Rohingyas from Jammu, Ladakh and elsewhere. And above all stop worrying about what media or retired babus or Yeshwant Sinha have to say on this. Hindus of 2018 have become a wisened lot.

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