Jammu: The verdict in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir will be delivered by a special court in Pathankot on Monday.
The in-camera trial in the case that shook the nation ended on June 3, when district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh announced that the verdict was likely to be delivered on June 10. Here’s a timeline of the events that followed after the gruesome incident:
January 10, 2018: An eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic Bakarwal tribe goes missing from near her house in Rasana village of the Kathua district when she takes the family’s horses to a nearby pond to graze.
January 12, 2018: Her father lodges a missing complaint at the Hiranagar Police station. The horses she had taken for grazing return by the evening. An FIR is registered.
January 17, 2018: Body of the girl is found around one kilometer from her home. An autopsy is conducted at the District Hospital in Kathua and the doctors confirm that she was gang-raped before being murdered.
January 18, 2018: The incident leads to nationwide outrage as horrific details of the incident emerge and opposition parties stage a walkout from the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
January 22, 2018: The case is handed over to the state crime branch after protests by Bakarwal activists for not handling case effectively.
February 16, 2018: A Hindu right-wing group takes out a protest in Jammu in support of the accused and blames the government of not conducting a proper probe.
March 1, 2018: Two BJP ministers—Minister for Forest Chowdhary Lal Singh and Minister for Commerce and Industries Chander Prakash Ganga—attend a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch. The party’s MLAs from Kathua and Hiranagar constituencies, Rajeev Jasrotia and Kuldip Raj, are also present at the rally. The ministers say they would ask chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to transfer the case to the CBI.
March 21, 2018: Eight people are arrested on different dates and charged for the crime, including four police officers who are accused of “destroying evidences”. Street protests erupt at various places in Kashmir. One of the accused had earlier claimed to be 15 years old, but a medical examination now determines his age to be 19 at the time of the crime.
April 4, 2018: Investigations reveal that the girl was kept in a temple and was drugged, tortured, gang-raped and finally killed. She was strangled to death after an accused hit her with a stone, twice, to make sure “she had indeed died”.
April 10, 2018: A group of lawyers attempts to prevent the police from filing charge-sheet at the Kathua court complex. The team of crime branch submits the charge-sheet later in the night at the residence of chief judicial magistrate. The charge-sheet states that the rape was planned to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the area.
April 11, 2018: The case grabs national and International attention and protests are reported from different parts of the country. Tension grips Jammu and Kashmir.
April 13, 2018: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Supreme Court make statements condemning the incident and assure justice. Also, the two BJP ministers, who had attended the rally in support of the accused, resign from their posts.
April 14, 2018: United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres terms the incident as “horrific” and asks Indian authorities to deliver justice.
April 16, 2018: Trial in the case begins before the Principal Sessions Court judge, Kathua.
April 18, 2018: The Delhi High Court directs various media houses to deposit Rs10 lakh each as penalty for disclosing the name and other details of the gang-rape victim.
May 7, 2018: The Supreme Court shift the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab with instructions that trial should be fast-tracked. The trial is closed to the public and press and is being held in-camera as per instructions from the apex court.
June 3, 2019: The case comes to a conclusion after the examination of 114 witnesses during the trial.