Obstructing justice delivery

Kashmir Times. Dated: 3/12/2018 3:36:28 PM

Political and social mobilization campaigns in Kathua rape and murder case amount to defeating delivery of justice

The excessive politicisation and communalisation of the Kathua rape and murder incident is extremely repulsive. Not only are such voices vitiating the atmosphere, they are also making all out attempts to subvert justice. Several right wing groups, other groups vying with them and even professional institutions have been mobilising campaigns to shockingly speak not in support of victims but instead raising the accused in the case to the pedestal of victimhood. In view of the sensitivity of the case and the heinousness of the crime of kidnapping, raping and murdering an eight-year old girl, such politicization is not only flawed; it is horrifying. As per the law any accused persons should be deemed innocent till proven guilty. But the law takes its own course and the accused must be subject to the due process of law rather than valourising them through public campaigns and propaganda even before investigations are complete. The accused must face investigations and trial before they can be acquitted or convicted by the distinguished court. Street courts cannot be allowed to subvert this process of law. It is not out of place to mention that the role of police in the case was shoddy right from the very beginning and there were undue delays in investigation, starting from the basic evidence. That media reports point out to criminal lapses in the manner on initial investigations including fudging of evidence like washing the blood-soaked and muddy clothes of the victim and declaring one of the arrested accused as a minor further point out to the influence wielded by the accused and their sympathizers right from the very beginning. The investigations now being undertaken by the Crime Branch are systemically being pursued, much of which, if true, have only appeared in media reports. The CBI has filed two status reports in the case and media reports point out that two people have been arrested for the crime and two cops held for botching up evidence and that the shocking crime was pre-meditated and planned with its main accused likely to be picked up soon. The investigations are being duly monitored by the High Court and there appears to be swiftness in the progress and pace of the probe. No apparent signs of wrong doing or bias have emerged other than the political voices coming to the rescue of the accused under the banner on a newly floated Hindu Ekta Manch. Not only has this group taken out a rally vilifying the victim family and used the national tricolor as its prop, creating panic of communal polarization, it has been openly calling for dropping charges against the accused. Two senior BJP ministers have been provoking crowds to mobilize and violate Section 144 CrPC imposed in and around the area of crime in Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district and there is recorded evidence to show that one of them horrifyingly chose to trivialize the crime with the words, “so what if one girl has died, many other girls die as well.” This is a serious case of attempts to obstruct justice. All those groups propping up the theory of ‘prejudiced probe’ by the Crime Branch, have alleged ‘witch-hunting’ in the investigations and called for handing over the case to the CBI. It is no hidden secret that in many cases of crime, police have either dragged feet or been driven by prejudice. But the CBI, with its track record of having become a virtual puppet in the hands of the successive regimes at the Centre, is not holier than thou. With the case being politicized and BJP leaders openly coming out in support of the accused, it is wishful thinking that the road to justice lies at the doorstep of the CBI. Secondly and more importantly, for shifting the case to another agency, it is important to establish reasonable grounds for suspicions of prejudice by the existing investigating agency. Not a single party or individual clamouring for handing over the Kathua rape and murder case to CBI has come out with any concrete signs of wrong-doing and bias in the process of justice. As it is, it is an established fundamental of law that the basic principle of justice is seen from the victim’s perspective, not the perpetrator and certainly not the street mobs. The demand for handing over the case to CBI is not only flawed; it is inspired by the ambition to subvert truth and justice. The political voices and the mobs on the street trying to subvert justice must rethink the import of their demand and its dangerous implications both on the social-political fabric of the state and on other criminal cases of similar nature. The state government, so far, has displayed remarkable spine in not bowing before irrational demands. It must ensure that investigations be carried on at their present pace under court supervision to be followed by a speedy trial. The law of the land provides for remedy through litigations even after this process is done with.



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