Kathua rape case: Lawyers claim jail officials stopped them from meeting accused

Kathua (JK): Lawyers representing the accused in the Kathua rape-murder case today claimed that they were restricted from meeting their clients by the district jail authorities.

The Crime Branch had arrested eight persons, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, over the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic Muslim Bakerwal community here.

“We had come to the district jail Kathua to meet our clients this morning. We wanted to meet our clients and prepare the line of defence. It is a legal right to meet one’s clients, but we have not been allowed to meet them,” advocate Aseem Sawhney told reporters here.

Sawhney, pleading the case for policeman Tilak Raj and others, said he was restricted from meeting the accused personally.

The lawyers also alleged physical torture of their clients at the hands of the police.

“We suspect that our clients were subjected to third degree treatment,” they said.

A K Sawhney, another lawyer representing the arrested persons in the case, alleged that the Crime Branch failed to provide copies of the charge-sheet to his clients.

Jammu has been tense since the brutal rape and murder of the minor girl.

The Bar Association has opposed the arrest of the eight persons in the case, alleging “targeting of minority Dogras”. Some of the arrested reportedly belong to the Hindu Ekta Manch, a right-wing group.

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