A Pathankot court on Monday convicted six people in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl belonging to nomadic Bakarwal tribe in Rasana village of the Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir. The court, however, acquitted the seventh accused, Vishal, son of the main accused Sanji Ram. "The court has convicted six persons. Son of one of the accused Sanji Ram, Vishal has been acquitted," Farooqi Khan, lawyer of victim’s family said after the sentencing. The case shook the entire world, with United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres terming the incident "horrific". Massive protests across the country were held to press the authorities for fast-track investigation and provide timely justice to the 8-year-old girl. The case was also given a communal tinge with two BJP ministers and two party Legislators comming in the support of the accused. However, the the girl finaly got the justice with the conviction of her rapists and murders.
Kathua Rape: How the case unfolded so far
January 10, 2018: Aight-year-old girl from nomadic Bakarwal tribe in Rasana village of the Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir goes missing from his house. She had gone to graze her family’s horses to a nearby pond.
January 12, 2018: The horses she had taken return to home by the evening. Concerned father of the girl files a missing complaint at the Hiranagar Police station. An FIR was registered in the case.
January 17, 2018: Body of the girl found some 800 meters away from her home. Post-mortem report confirmed that she was gang-raped before being murdered.
January 18, 2018: The autopsy report reveals horrific details of the incident, triggering nationwide outrage. Opposition parties stage walk-out from the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Protests breaks out in Delhi and across the country.
January 22, 2018: Bakarwal community activists demand handing over the case to the state crime branch, alleging irregularities in police investigation. Their demands were met and the case was handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir crime branch.
February 16, 2018: Hindu right-wing groups, including BJP leaders, take out a protest march in Jammu in support of the accused.
March 1, 2018: Two BJP ministers in Mehbooba Mufti Cabinet — Minister for Forest Chowdhary Lal Singh and Minister for Commerce and Industries Chander Prakash Ganga — attend a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch. BJP Legislators from Kathua and Hiranagar constituencies.
March 21, 2018: Eight people, including four police officers, were arrested. The policemen were charged for “destroying evidences”. Protests break out in various parts of Kashmir. One of the accused claims to be a minor but medical examination proved his age to be 19 at the time of the crime.
April 4, 2018: More shocking details emerge in investigation. The girl was kept in a temple where she was drugged, tortured and gang-raped before being brutally murdered. Just before the murder, one of the accused men called his aides and asked them not to kill her as she wanted to rape her too. Later, the accused strangled her to death and then hit her with a stone to make sure she had indeed died.
April 10, 2018: A group of lawyers create ruckus at the court and attempts to prevent the police from filing charge-sheet at the Kathua court premises. Later, a team of crime branch filed the charge-sheet at the residence of chief judicial magistrate in the night. The charge-sheet claimed that the rape and murder of the 8-year-old was planned to remove the Bakarwal community from the area.
April 11, 2018: Tension prevails in Jammu and Kashmir as the incident makes international attention. Another round of protests breaks out in different parts of the country.
April 13, 2018: After prolonged silence over the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence and assured justice. The Supreme Court also commented on the incident. The two BJP ministers, who attended the rally in support of the accused, resign from their post.
April 14, 2018: United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres also reacts to the incident. Terming the rape and murder of the girl “horrific”, Guterres demanded Indian authorities to deliver justice.
April 16, 2018: Trial begins before the Kathua Sessions Court judge.
April 18, 2018: Taking suo-moto cognizance of the reporting in the case, the Delhi High Court orders various media outlets to deposit a penalty of Rs 10 lakh each for disclosing the identity of the victim.
May 7, 2018: The Supreme Court shifts the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab. The top court directs fast-tracked hearing in the case and barred media from the trial. The court also asked to hold the trial on camera.
June 3, 2019: After examining 114 witnesses and hearing the arguments from both sides, the case comes to a conclusion.