A number of police officers are among those accused of kidnapping, gang raping and murdering schoolgirl Asifa Bano in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The youngster’s mutilated body was found a week after she was abducted. Asifa was said to have been targeted for the brutal attack by a gang trying to drive away the group of Muslim nomadic herders to which she belonged.
The killing has provoked shock and anger across Indian, and also exposed the deep cultural divides which still exist between Muslims and Hindus in Kashmir.
Asifa was grazing her family’s ponies in the forests of the Himalayan foothills when she was kidnapped.
Her raped and mutilated body was found in the woods a week later. According to investigators, Asifa was confined in a local Hindu temple for several days.
Forensic reports say she had been drugged with anti-anxiety medication, repeatedly raped, burned, bludgeoned with a rock and strangled.
Eventually, her corpse was thrown into the forest.
Asifa went missing on January 10. At the time her family was living in a village around 45 miles east of Jammu city and two days after her disappearance, the family told the police.
Her body was found five days later and her father Muhammad Yusuf Pujwala told the BBC he was sitting outside his home when one of his neighbours came running towards him.
Police say the attack on Asifa was rooted in religious politics, with a group of local men planning to scare away the Bakarwals by simply kidnapping a girl.
Seven men and one child have been arrested – including retired government official Sanji Ram, 60, and four police officers.
One of those policemen also allegedly joined in the search for her body. Two other policemen were arrested for attempts to destroy evidence.
The death and police investigation has promoted fierce protests across Kashmir, India, between Hindus and Muslims.
Source : PTI