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‘Inside story’ of how one of the most horrific rape-murders of J&K was planned & executed

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These revelations, allegedly brought to light during the interrogation of the accused, form the basis of the chargesheet the Jammu & Kashmir police crime branch filed Monday.

New Delhi: As she was allegedly raped repeatedly at a local temple in Jammu’s Kathua district this January, the eight-year-old victim, it is said, could offer little resistance as she had been sedated with an anti-anxiety drug.

She is thought to have opened her eyes every now and then during the assault, but the impact of the drug kept her from reacting. So strong was the dosage administered to the young girl that it is believed to have kept her hanging by a thread for days before she was actually killed.

On 14 January, four days after she was abducted while grazing her family’s ponies, the 8-year old was allegedly strangulated.

These and other ghastly details, police claim, were revealed by the two men and a juvenile who are the main suspects and have been arrested for the crime that has shaken Jammu and Kashmir and caused a communal divide in the Jammu region.

The details form the basis of the chargesheet the Jammu & Kashmir police crime branch filed in Kathua late on Monday.  Local lawyers had prevented police from filing it in court earlier in the day, accusing them of bias and indicating the strong passions the case has flamed.

Police are likely to charge three of the seven accused, all in prison, with gang rape, making them liable for the death sentence if convicted of murder too. Other charges invoked include illegal confinement, conspiracy and destruction of evidence, sources said.

The juvenile has to be charged under a separate chargesheet.

The plot

The rape and murder of the 8-year old has assumed communal overtones and fed a raging controversy in an area said to be deeply polarised. And it’s these deep fault lines that allegedly lie at the heart of this sordid saga. The child’s abduction and murder, according to police, was part of a plot to drive out members of her community from a village named Rasana.

The protagonists of this alleged plot include Sanjhi Ram, the suspected mastermind, who is a former revenue official and local strongman; his son Vishal Kumar, a college student; police officer Deepak Khajuria; Ram’s 16-year-old nephew who is the juvenile, and his friend Parvesh Kumar.

A tribal, the 8-year old was a member of the nomadic Bakerwal community. In his confession, Vishal is alleged to have told police that the victim’s only fault was that “she was born in a family of Bakerwals”.

Sources said the idea to “teach the Bakerwals a lesson” allegedly started taking shape around November last year, against a backdrop of regular skirmishes between local Hindus and Bakerwals over land trespass and encroachment in Rasana and other nearby Kathua villages.

According to police, Sanjhi began planning the crime in December. As partners, he chose his juvenile nephew and Khajuria, 28 — a calculated choice, according to police, given the duo’s “grudge” against the community.

The juvenile had allegedly been beaten up by the Bakerwals earlier for reportedly teasing a girl of the community, while Khajuria found himself in frequent arguments and fights with the community over their animals trespassing on his land. Both allegedly sought revenge, and Ram instigated them further. An additional factor at play in getting the nephew on board was the fact that, if caught, he would get off easier on account of his age, police claim.

The crime

According to police, the assailants decided on kidnapping the 8-year old among other Bakerwal children because of her age. Rape, police sources said, was never part of the plan.

By the first week of January, the conspiracy was well in place, and the juvenile and Khajuria had been assigned their respective roles by Ram. While Khajuria had to procure drugs to keep her sedated, the juvenile would kidnap her, police sources allege.

According to police, on 8 and 9 January, the juvenile lay in wait for an opportunity to abduct the girl, but got one only on 10 January. He allegedly heard her voice as she came near his house to graze her family’s ponies, and called his friend Parvesh to help him out. Both of them allegedly misled the girl while she was searching for her animals, and, when she lost her way, forced her to eat a bhang confection readily available in the area, Mannar.

The juvenile then allegedly raped her in the forest before the two carried her to the temple, known locally as ‘Devsthan’, of which Ram is the custodian.

Police sources told ThePrint that the juvenile subsequently informed his cousin Vishal, who was taking his exams at a Meerut university at the time, about the plot. That’s when Vishal reportedly returned to Rasana.

On 11 January, the 8-year old was allegedly given a high dosage of clonazepam — a drug used to control seizures and treat anxiety — after a lower-grade sedative failed to keep her sedated for a longer time. According to police, the drug kept her unconscious till the next day. By then, a massive search operation had begun for the child, and the juvenile and Parvesh stayed away from the Devsthan that day.

According to police, on 13 January, the juvenile and Vishal visited the temple and allegedly raped the child. Police sources say Ram, who was outside the temple at the time, “pulled up his son” when he found out about the rape.

The assault continued on 14 January, when she was allegedly raped by the juvenile as well as Khajuria. She was then taken to a culvert and allegedly strangulated with a shawl she was wearing by Khajuria and the juvenile. Her head was also hit against a stone, reportedly later recovered from the spot by police.

According to police, her body was then taken back to the Devsthan. The original plan was to take her body in a car to a nullah, where it would have been washed away, but was instead dumped the next day in the forest.

The ‘destruction of evidence’

DNA tests on hair strands found at the Devsthan as well as the girl’s body have confirmed her presence at the temple, as well as the juvenile’s at the site her body was found.

According to police sources, post-mortem tests have indicated damage to private parts as well as injuries to her uterus, findings considered to be “clinching evidence” of sexual assault.

Police are awaiting two other forensic reports to prove the presence of the accused at the site of the crime.

However, it has been alleged that much of the evidence, including the victim’s vaginal slides, was destroyed by the police officers who investigated the case before it was handed over to the crime branch.

Two police personnel, Tilak Raj and Anand Dutta, from the Hiranagar police station, where Khajuria was posted as well, were arrested over suspicions that they washed the 8-year old blood- and mud-soaked clothes before sending them for forensic tests.

Sources said Ram had allegedly paid the two around Rs 4 lakh to destroy evidence, adding that a forensic lab in Delhi had confirmed her clothes were washed before they received it.

Turmoil in Kathua

The crime has stoked communal passions in the politically sensitive Jammu region.

The arrest of the accused has triggered demonstrations in Kathua and neighbouring areas amid claims that the investigation was unfair and there have been demands for a CBI investigation. They are led by a new group called ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ and backed by BJP leaders Lal Singh Chaudhary and Chander Prakash Ganga — both ministers in the state’s PDP-BJP government.

At least four women from Rasana have been on an indefinite hunger strike, including the mother of one of the accused, over the past 10 days to protest against the “wrongful arrests”.

The Hindu Ekta Manch is led by Kant Kumar, former sarpanch of Kootah, who claimed they had definitive evidence to prove the investigations were unfair.

“Several of those who were called for questioning have told us that they were forced to confess under extreme pressure by police,” Kumar told ThePrint, adding that “the truth will come to light very soon”.

The Manch is going to launch a protest Wednesday against the arrests and block the national highway.

The Jammu & Kashmir High Court Bar Association (Jammu) has joined the stir too, protesting since 4 April to demand a CBI investigation into the case, as demanded by the manch. It has called for a Jammu bandh Wednesday.

In a statement, the bar association has put forth other demands too, including the “deportation of illegally settled immigrants in and around Jammu”. According to sources, the association may also file a PIL to seek a stay on the crime branch’s investigation into the case.

The association has alleged that the coalition government had “deliberately created a hostile situation in an attempt to…disturb the harmonious atmosphere and character of Jammu region”, adding that its demands are “in the interest of the safety, security and peaceful survival of the nationalist people of Jammu region”.

The Hurriyat had also released a statement earlier, which said that Jammu’s Muslim community was being subjected “to severe harassment” and demanded stringent action against those involved in the heinous crime.

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  1. Some illiterate and uneducated people are blaming government for such a shameful crime. Verdict has come and looks like J&K crime branch has forcefully caused the accused to prove guilty. As they tried to prove guilt to one of the accused who was not in the city even. I totally smell a rat and hope that CBI investigation only can be reliable.

  2. I hope these bastards rott in hell look at there bindis on there foreheads they are twisted freaks who need to be shot I can’t think what that poor innocent girl has been put through may Allah tallah make it easier for their parents

  3. I don’t know what our government does…illiterate and uneducated people are running India a nation that talks about Peace not but these swines believe in “piece” not “peace “..
    I ask…who the hell are these people who don’t even do justice and don’t understand the difference between humanity and inhumanity…Laws should not be just implemented but should also be applied…Our govt is blind folded which does even know that there is one clear punishment for this devil act which is death…shame on our govt that can’t even take action against these swines…its been a long time since this act came into light and still the culprits are not hanged…Its not just about one Asifa, it could also b ashmita, it could also be maria and it could also be gurmeet…its time for us to fight against our govt so that we can Fight against the devils and get justice…..

  4. I am undergoing severe depression during past couple of days due to this Kathua case. I am no way connected to this child. I am a Hindu, Tamil living in far away London. This is an unbearable pain for me. This is truly a crime against humanity.

  5. Hang them with no food no water nothing , let them die in a pain which was felt by that innocent child. Must set an example. Record their death and show that video at regular intervals.

  6. Hot iron rod should be inserted to the bastard men.Hanging is Avery small punishment for them.They should have the same pain which those bastard given to the innocent child.This kanoon should not be andhe kanoon.

  7. My heart is shattered Nd sallowen by her grief dear child you must get justice those barbaric Inhumans must be hanged.

  8. I think there is no God no Shiva no Jesus and no allaha .otherwise this little girl would have saved. Please hand over the culprit to the terrorist and they will give correct punishment. Bloody shame on the Hindus in Kashmir. If Hindus are good Please unite for the little one for justice they should get the maximum punishment cut there private part and put chilly powder burn with acid. Last Indian law is worst f*** it .

  9. Revenge rape in a temple. Read that a 100 times. Revenge Rape In A Temple. In a temple, a 8 yr old was raped as revenge. Raped for revenge in a temple. A temple. A temple was the site of a revenge rape on a child. They did this in a temple. A temple. I am ashamed of my Hindu religion. I fear for my Hindu gods in whose name this was done. In a temple. A child, revenge, in a temple. Let that sink in. A temple. It is the single most blackest day for Hindus. It will take ages to undo this, and we ll still never be able to bring back the child from dead. All because of grazing trespassing? A child was raped for revenge in a temple because we were insecure about a piece of land? When will people understand – they live for 70-80 years, this land is not going anywhere for million years. Noone can own land. Noone can possess it. Noone has the right to stake claim to land. And noone, noone has the right to lay a finger on a child for this. If there are Hindu gods, and there are some, these men will face the wrath of gods and be punished for what they ve done. They raped and killed a child of 8 in a temple. A temple.

    • It is unimaginable that the rapists nay beasts and monsters commited this act in a temple.Four of the rapists are policemen. What justice can we expect where the persons supposed to uphold the law and protect the common man is commiting such heniuos and horrific act.Also, Lawyers are supporting the rapists by obstructing justice.What have we come to? LAwyers supporting rapists?Do they have no daughters? OR is it because they have been communally brainwashed that they cannot see the inhuman and despicable crime.Even 2 elected representatives supported the Rapists.these MLA’s should be punished for supporting this ghastly act.
      So we see, police, lawyers, politicians all come together to support Rapists because they belong to the majority community.
      Law has gone to the Dogs.And all this happens in a Temple.A temple.

  10. You biased medias , why don’t you guys ask for a CBI inquiry ?? And those who ask you term them as rapist supporters ?? How many crores have you got from mufti ?? Why don’t you disclose the first report and why don’t you disclose the reality of Irfan wani the police officer who is in charge??

    • Well cbi has to investigate whatever but rape is rape and they will be caught.He thinks that bjp is trying to save thesse rapists because of their religion .The same manch is saying about cbi invrstigation to show the men are innocent .Because if they resist then they will be caught.This news doesnt say no cbi investigation thats the whole thinking he might be going with .If he said something doesnt mean he is payed by someone.If u want you can complain about him and write a letter to Amit Shah.He will take care .If there is money and a reciept or any evidence on the phone pointing to what you say then he will be arrested.Do not judge the man.Write a petiton to stop paying people or investigatimg whoever is deemed worthy of it on the basis of what they said.

  11. cant say any thing but , can say only if the persons are either hindu or muslims whoever is envolved , they should be hang by neck till death but before that inko hang karne se pehle koie bhi human rights jaisee baat beech me nahi aani chayee . inki chamri udheer k namak mirch laga k pehle hafto rakho fir inko pata chale or duniya ko bhi. fir latkao inko or rukhsat karo duniya se.

  12. My blood is raging to give ghastly pain to those who did such act that too in a temple….to hell with Hindu Muslim …these a**holes should be cut into thousand peices one each day……many are caring more about Hindu Muslim nonsense bullshit…I cannot even dare imagine what that innocent girl faced….I am an Hindu but before that I am a human …I wish I could myself bring hell to those bastards who are being protected in the name of religion

  13. These people are still supporting the perpetrators shamelessly.
    Everything that Muslims do they find some religious angle and now that a child has been raped by 8 men for days in a temple they say it was for personal reasons.

    The hypocrisy will not go unpunished. God’s justice will prevail in the end, even if Man’s justice doesn’t.

  14. An innocent heart destroyed mercilessly by these demons! Justice must be served.. Each of them deserve the harshest of penalties.. I’m speechless.. they don’t deserve to live..
    RIP Asifa

  15. No… These are monsters and need to be hanged. Justice can never be done for the girl. We have failed as a human race. But now need to send these guys to the gallows within 6 months.

  16. It’s barbaric. The kid had no community. So it is between civilised humans and uncivilised humans. God does not exists and religion is only a medeival and supersitious identity. Human moral values do not come from religion.

  17. Why the govt is silent?their ministers had the courage to support the monsters. I have never seen a crime worst than this in my living memory.Guilty shd be hanged.

  18. Kathua’s #Nirbhaya doesn’t deserve justice because she was born with a different name. And those criminals are being protected under the umbrella of nation’s tricolour. Any sane person demanding justice will be considered as an act of treason and they will be labelled as “anti-national” ready to be deported to Pakistan!
    This is “new normal” in BJP ruled India! This is “#NewIndia”!
    #JusticeForAsifa #KathuaRapeCase

  19. A clear propaganda against Hindu minority…. Revenge is going on you all should know how a community comes to a village grabs land and on resistance the rape and murder charges filed on those villagers only… A place where girl is respected as Mata vaishno devi.. How these villagers rape them in temple.

  20. This is plan of jehadi Islamist of kashmir to encroach, terrorize, implicate in false cases and drive out the people of jammu as they did to the hindus of Kashmir. All people of jammu should unite against this encroachment.

  21. This has gone too far. Zainabs killer got 4 life sentences but it is not enough. They will just be chilling in prison. They should be punished in many different ways in front of everyone. They think that they could just rape an kill someone thinking that you might get away with it. There should be more police and society should be on the lookout for anything bad happening. It can happen at anyone.we should be more careful and be more protective.we should look out for each other. If this is gonna keep on happening we cannot let it go. Where are the police. There should be more of them and look out for any crimes that can be happening at any place. We are letting this happen, as a society and as a country.

  22. They should be punished,whipped everyday so that they can suffer like the way they suffered Asifa. Killing them is short punishment. Whatever punishment they recieve should be painful so that it could teach other people to think before they do those heinous actions. The criminals should be punished in different ways till the day they die. They will have to regret what they did like they wished they wouldn’t do it ever again.

  23. From the inputs brought out here, the case seems more of a personal revenge rather a communal. However, the degree of heinousness of the crime places it in another repeatation of ‘Nirbhaya Incident’ . Such inhumane incidents must be stopped. The case be fairly and expeditely investigated by the trusted agency and the Culprits must be dealt under the doctrine of ‘the rarest of rare crime. The verdict should set an example not only for the Anti-women mindset Adult but their following juvenile too…..

  24. Shame on those who are supporting such criminals. These criminals should be shot in public view for doing this to a innocent child.

  25. Don’t make a religious issue. They are devils and the accused should be tried and hanged. They deserve death penalty.

  26. If the culprits r not punished severely then there will b more such crimes in future which ll ultimately ruin the communal harmony of the region.the only Justice at the moment is to public ally hang such heinous murders and taught the lesson for like minded animals…..

    • I agree with u. Spending prison for the rest of your life is not enough. To make people realise what they doing is wrong. They should be more aware of the actions which is they are still doing it

  27. I too support Asifa.It is such a shame for all the human beings.We should not at all spare the culprits who ever they are.And shame on all those people and especially bar association who are supporting them. On what basis are they calling for a strike for such people.

  28. Hope people must understand that crime and criminals does not belong to any religion. Really tough to understand the act of Bar association.

  29. Ironically,nationalism defends the offenders.Had Asifa been in place of Narbhiya, what then the same people would defend the culprits.Indis is totally unsafe for minorties, be it Muslims or dalits.

  30. Ironically, nationalism defends the culprits.Is religion going to decide the fate of the accused.Had innocent Asifa been Narbhiya,do the same people would have been come out to cover up the crime of the offender.This clearly indicates that India is unsafe for minorties.

  31. If the same situation happen to daughter of police or an army men then they will march culprits to the streets

  32. Shameful act, culprits must be hanged. The act should not be labelled as Hindu Vs Muslim but Demons Vs Humans.

  33. A clear propaganda against Hindu minority…. Revenge is going on you all should know how a community comes to a village grabs land and on resistance the rape and murder charges filed on those villagers only… A place where girl is respected as Mata vaishno devi.. How these villagers rape them in temple.

    • “Hindu Minority” since when? Jammu is Hindu majority and the area that crime happened is Hindu majority, the people who raped and killed her were 5 (direct)-8 (+ police to hide the crime) were Hindu majority with 1 Muslim girl, we Muslims are not telling you as “Hindu terrorist” or “Hindu religion is a rape religion” and “Hindu Mens is rape culture” ,etc. Its a small land grazing issues that could have handled amicapbly as there is good Hindu majority presence all around, even to the level of taking help from Prime Servent of India, but instead now this has become a international shame of India, by who, not by the Local police you have all the evidence, not by the family of victim, as if they love to see their daughter name all over the worls, not by the PDP parties, not by the local imam or stone trowing guys, not by the so called “pakistan” if you want to later use them too. yes, they took the temple are a cover as its easy it belonged to Mr. Ram and has the lock himself, and its the last and least place to look into for police, but unfortunately, the temple floor was not kept clean with first that was found in the child body (so much for a holy place) and they even did not clean post the murder to remove all the DNA traces, etc. So still Muslims are not calling Hindu religion for this crime, its the wrong person criminal who is having Hindu names, and your local Hindutva faction will make it famous now as a “hindu pride”….go ahead shoot on your foot yourself, who cares, now fight for the justice of the girl, if you feel shame in calling her Asifa, at least pretend to call her Nirbhaya and seek justice…hope you got to know what is to be done…

  34. Culprits needs to punished, people are trying to make it communal are showing their mentality that humanity is lost in them. Police should do their work efficiently and culprits should not be spared.

  35. This is evil. But searching Hindu Muslim in such issue, you are pathetic and cheap. By the way if you took it that way, where were you when Kashmiri Hindu girls were being kidneped and raped?? Bloody media searching Hindu Muslim everywhere and trying to deframe the face of Hindus and Bhaarat.

  36. So much bias here.. Words are used in ” marks against community while other community is shown innocent. Shame

  37. yeh hindu log ki yeh hi jaat hai inke majority jagah mai toh yeh log rape karte hi hai ab muslim logo ke saath bhi shuru kar diya … sabko milke in kashmiri pandit aur baaki hinduo ko jammu se bahar pekh dena chahiye..

  38. I expect roaring voice from Pakistan cricket Players that the Freedom Fighters of J &K are charged with rape and murder

    • Yes, it happened in India so Nepolean Bonaparte (a.k.a. Anand) decided to use Pakistan, stay in India for now, till you are too aksed to join pakistan.

  39. When can we expect a capital punishment to who so ever does the heinous crime”the rape”….is it when any of the family member from the ruling party gets raped???

  40. It’s high time now that we should introduce strict and deadly punishments for these non-human creatures….. it’s only then that they will fear the law.

  41. Its sad and disgusting i hope the culprits get punished. And hope jus how asifa’s murderers were caughts, rapists and murderers of Kashmiri Pandits will be caught and punished too..

    • yes this is the right time to play the kashmiri Pandits card, and also to claim they have been raped in mass, which is also not factual…read this……Whilst, some Pandit organisations such as Panun Kashmir etc. have accused Kashmiri Muslims of genocide and mass-rape, during the times of exodus,[41] authors have labeled the claims as exaggerated.[41] Scholars Mridu Rai[42] and A. Evans [43] have outright rejected the claims of genocide.

      • but you muslims have this in your nature to rape non-muslim women,it has been made clear since the muslim migrant invasion of europe,white young girls as young as 13 were gangraped while they were drugged,what happened with pundits is true,islam says there is nothing wrong in raping murdering non-muslim women as they are already bound for hell

  42. A heineous crime against an innocent child conspired,planned and executed by a communally charged gang needs to be condemned by all human beings.How surprising and shocking is communal mentality of those supporting the criminals-men in uniform who destroyed evidence, at bar,politicians,legislators,and ministers and custodians devotees of Devisthan Temple?

  43. The punishment for such heinous crime should be torture until they realize their mistakes and how sick their mentality us… Juveniles included.. Sick sick sick people. These kind of people don’t deserve any mercy..

  44. If the story is true then it is the most ghastly and cowardly act by few depraved men who need to be hanged in public for such a heinous act on a innocent child. How can you take revenge on a child . The victims deserve no mercy.

  45. Why print is revealing the names ? If communal clashes takes place should “The Print” will be responsible for it?

  46. No amount of strike call can wash away this henious crime,forensic investigation with a water tight case followed by death penalty to the criminals including that juvenile.
    We cannot allow such lousy rascals in our society,be they from any community.

  47. When details started coming out about how ISIS was treating captives, I stopped reading, for the mind goes numb. I do not have the heart to read this column, either. Others should. How the lawyers are behaving is execrable. A terrible poison is seeping into our society. It will sicken all of us. After some years, a prominent exile will write a book, Reimagining India.

  48. Based on the details you have put yourself the case seems to be of revenge for alleged frequent trespassing.
    It’s media that has put communal overtones to it and you are just taking the same line as media.

    Having known the details at least you should refrain from taking the same line.

    • @Amol Majumdar and other apologists: it is not the crime itself that has given this a communal colour, but the ‘support’ provided by ‘hindu strangers’ to avoid a proper investigation. I am a Hindu, and all Hindus should condemn this support provided to alleged criminals. Let the courts take their course.

  49. The lawyers community has exposed itself by resorting to mob mentality ,that too in support of alleged rapists and killers.

  50. This is horrendous! What animals could have gone to this extent.Difficult to believe humans have fallen to such depths. While holding the criminals and rapists in custody, it would be better if the CBI too is involved. The communal divide is severe, and its best to let a Central agency handle the whole case from scratch.

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