A forensic investigation conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir police in the alleged rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl from the Bakherwal community revealed that the victim was heavily sedated and was kept at a prayer hall maintained by one of the accused.
DNA tests were conducted by a Delhi-based laboratory, on strands of the victim’s hair that was found by the Jammu and Kashmir police, reported The Indian Express.
Sources told the daily that the post-mortem reports had also confirmed the presence of Clonazepam, a sedative, in the girl’s body. The report further mentioned that the prayer hall where the girl was held captive was maintained by Sanji Ram, a retired revenue official, who has been named the ‘main conspirator’ in the case.
Meanwhile, Ram’s wife joined a fast-unto-death strike launched by the family members of the other accused on 4 April, demanding the transfer of the case to the CBI for a ‘fair probe’ into the case.
The alleged rape and murder case had incited communal tensions in the state, after Ram was accused of masterminding the crime to instill fear among the Bakherwal community and drive them out of the area, reported news agency PTI.
The girl’s body was recovered from Rassana forest on 17 January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
Ram had surrendered to the Crime Branch on 20 March, a day after his son, also a co-accused in the case, was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.
On 8 March, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had rejected the demand for a CBI probe, saying that the investigation was almost complete.
The Crime Branch, which took over the case from the local police on 23 January, arrested six people, including two special police officers and a policeman, besides Ram, in connection with the case.
Soon after the incident, local residents had marched through the streets demanding the release of the arrested persons. They later changed their demand to a CBI inquiry after criticism from different quarters.
(With inputs from PTI)