Kathua Rape: Witnesses granted liberty to move High Court on torture allegations

Kathua Rape: Witnesses granted liberty to move High Court on torture allegations

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today allowed three witnesses in the Kathua Rape case to approach the Jammu & Kashmir High Court to raise the issue of torture and harassment at the hands of the state police.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard advocates Ravi Sharma and Laksh Khanna for the petitioner and Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for State of Jammu & Kashmir, before granting the petitioners liberty to move the High Court.

Subramanium also told the Court that the three witnesses will not be made accused in the case.

The petitioners, who are classmates of one of the accused persons, Vishal Jangotra, were summoned as witnesses by the police. It was their contention that they were “coerced to make a statement contrary to the fact that Vishal Jangotra was with them at Miranpur, Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh from January 7, 2018, to February 10, 2018.”

“During that period, he along with petitioners attended examinations and practical papers.”

The petitioners had alleged that they were subjected to physical and mental torture by the J&K Police from March 19 to 31 this year. It was their allegation that they were abused, humiliated and beaten mercilessly for admitting something contrary to the truth and facts.

When the matter was heard in May, the Court had sought the response of State of Jammu & Kashmir while also ordering that the petitioners can be accompanied by their family members while recording statements before the police.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had agreed to transfer the Kathua rape trial to Pathankot, after it was alleged that fair trial could not be conducted in Jammu & Kashmir.

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