After a special court of Pathankot held six out of seven accused guilty and acquitted one of them last month, father of the minor girl who was brutally gang raped and murdered last year in January, has now moved Punjab High Court on Wednesday challenging the acquittal of Vishal Ram, son of village head man and main accused, Sanji Ram. In his petition, the father has also sought enhancement of punishment for the convicted persons in the case.

On June 10 district and sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced life imprisonment for three out of six convicts Sanji Ram, special police officer Deepak Khajuria alias ‘Dipu’ and Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu. The petition in Punjab High Court urges death penalty for these convicts. Apart from being the village head man, Sanji Ram was also the caretaker of the village temple where the accused persons raped the young girl. Khajuria on the other hand was a special police officer and Kumar was the fired of another police officer named Surender Verma.

The Pathankot Court gave punishment of five years of imprisonment to sub inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma for destruction of evidence.

“It is rarest of the rare case and as per the standards set by the Supreme Court, that case of rape and murder by a gang of a minor child comes under this category more so when the manner of committing crime exhibits complete insensitivity, cruelty, depravity and perversion,” the petition read.

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“We have also appealed against the wrongful acquittal of Vishal Jangotra in the case,” the petitioner’s counsel said.

On July 6, Sanji Ram had appealed to not get convicted at the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the court had admitted his plea. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had admitted the appeals of four convicts in the gang rape and murder case on July 1.

It is rarest of the rare case and as per the standards set by the Supreme Court, that case of rape and murder by a gang of a minor child comes under this category more so when the manner of committing crime exhibits complete insensitivity, cruelty, depravity and perversion

There is also a juvenile accused person involved in the case. In a previous interview with SheThePeople.TV, Kathua case lawyer Mubin Farooqui had said, “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.”

The young tribal girl went missing from her village on January 10 last year. She was missing for over 10 days before her body was found outside a small village temple in Kathua district. It has been reported that the girl was raped in captivity inside the temple. She was sedated for four days before the accused smashed her head with a rock which led to her death.

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