Kathua girl was drugged, held captive in temple

Medical investigation into the rape and murder of Asifa has revealed the child was drugged and held captive inside a temple before she died of asphyxiation, an official said.
Investigation into the rape and murder of Asifa, the eight-year-old victim has been concluded by the Crime Branch (CB) of the state police and a charge-sheet against the accused is likely to be filed next week.
Forensic evidence has also confirmed the child was held captive inside a temple.
An official told Kashmir Post that the CB has concluded investigation in the case and would present challan against all the eight accused next week in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua.
“The charge-sheet would be filed on Monday or Tuesday,” he said.
Asifa went missing from her native village of Rasana, Hira Nagar on January 10. Her mutilated body was found on January 17 on the outskirts of the village.
The BJP, which shares power with PDP in state, demanded a CBI probe in the case but it was rejected by Chief MinisterMehbooba Mufti.
Hindu Ekta Manch, an NGO formed by a local BJP leader, also staged protests in favour of the accused rapists and murderers of Asifa as well as against the CB.
According to officials privy to the investigation, three of the accused – Deepak Khajuria (SPO) , Vishal and a minor – are directly involved in the horrific crime.
“Three other accused persons – Sanjhi Ram, Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar and Surinder Verma (SPO) – were either part of the conspiracy or in know of the crime,” the official said.
Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, who is the main accused conspirator, is also custodian of the premises of the temple were Asifa was held captive.
The investigation, officials said, has revealed the crime was committed to drive out Bakerwal families living in Rasana and adjoining villages.
Police sub-inspector Anand Datta and head constable Tilak Raj were also arrested for destroying crucial evidence in the case.
The duo was arrested after it was established that they had washed Asifa’s clothes before sending them for forensic investigations.
A member of Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case said the viscera report has established that Asifa was drugged by the accused so that she would not cry for help.
“The viscera report is positive for clonazepam. This means that the victim was drugged by the accused,” he said, adding that this was in line with the investigation carried out by them.
He said the medical report has also revealed the cause of Asifa’s death was asphyxiation.
“This also strengthens our investigation that the victim was strangulated to death by the accused,” the official said.
He also disclosed that DNA test of hair strands recovered from the temple has revealed they were Asifa’s.
“After the accused revealed during interrogation that Asifa was kept captive at Devasthan, we searched the place and recovered hair strands there. These hair strands matched with Asifa’s hair during DNA test. This shows that she was kept captive at this place,” the official said.