After the Pathankot Court announced life imprisonment for the three prime convicts and five years of jail to the other three convicts in the gang rape and murder case of an eight-year-old Tribal girl in Kathua district of Jammu, there are a lot of questions being put up against the judgment as to why not capital punishment? The lawyer of Yusuf, the murdered child’s adopted father, Mubin Farooqui revealed in the latest interview with SheThePeople.TV one day after the judgment that the family of the girl is disappointed with the verdict and that they want to a file a review petition against it.

“While they are relieved that the judgment came out in a matter of one year, they’re disappointed with the severity of the punishment. I called them right after the verdict to tell them about the development. Now we will appeal for the death penalty as even earlier we had asked for the death penalty for all seven of the accused. The punishment for police officials who destroyed the evidence is very less as they became a part of the conspiracy when they removed the pieces of evidence.”

Currently, the verdict says that the prime accused including Village head Sanji Ram, special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Pravesh have been awarded life imprisonment of 25 years in jail. The special police officer Surendra Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj, and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta will be imprisoned for five years along with fine of five lakh rupees each.

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Sanji Ram’s son was acquitted in the case and there is also a juvenile who was also accused of raping the girl. His trial is pending in Pathankot court as of now. On these two suspects, Farooqui said, “We will also file a petition against the judgment of Vishal’s acquittal and will appeal for capital punishment for him too. As far as the juvenile’s case is concerned, we believe that he wasn’t a juvenile when he committed the crime and he was also one of the main accomplices in the crime.”

On asking if the leniency in verdict could be because of the political pressure as few members of the ruling party also joined protests protecting the perpetrators, Farooqui said that it could be one of the reasons. “This is only one step towards justice. It is a long battle which still needs to be fought.”

“We will also file a petition against the judgment of Vishal’s acquittal and will appeal for capital punishment for him too. As far as the juvenile’s case is concerned, we believe that he wasn’t a juvenile when he committed the crime and he was also one of the main accomplices in the crime.”

Farooqui spoke on the challenges that the trial went through to get justice as he said, “This case has been under fire since day one. There were several difficulties and threats that came our way but I believe that if we make a commitment to somebody then these things don’t matter and we have to fight with conviction. Even if we haven’t come close to justice but these were mere stones on our way and it wouldn’t be correct to highlight these.

After the Supreme Court directed to move the case from Jammu Court to Pathankot Court, there was pressure on the Pathankot Court to grant justice in a swift manner, said Farooqui.

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