Jammu and Kashmir Police took to Twitter to counter social media users and media reports who had raised several questions over the last one week insisting that the 8-year old Kathua victim had not been raped. The J&K Police verified Twitter handle put out a one-page release in which it said, “Constrained by the reportage, it is to place on record that on the strength of opinion furnished by medical experts, it has to been confirmed that the victim was found subjected to sexual assault by the accused.”
Press release….Case FIR No 10/2018 dated 12.01.2018 Police Station Hiranagar Kathua. pic.twitter.com/ek2IsXDpsa
— J&K Police (@JmuKmrPolice) April 21, 2018
One of the country’s leading Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran had on Friday published a detailed report where it pointed out the existence of two postmortem reports, none of which confirmed sexual assault. Strangely, Jagran’s story also mentioned that the second report revealed that the hymen of the victim was ruptured but the paper used a medical doctor’s opinion to dispute that it could be due to sexual assault.
BOOM had also reported Dainik Jagran taking down the story from its website for several hours before releasing it again on Friday evening. Speaking to BOOM, the newspaper’s online Editor Kamlesh Raghuvanshi had confirmed that the story was taken down for some hours till all points mentioned in the story were fact checked thoroughly. (Read that story here)
The J&K Police strong rebuttal also comes on a day when The Indian Express reported the Delhi Forensic Science Laboratory has confirmed that the vaginal swabs of the victim matched with that of the accused. The paper quoted an anonymous senior FSL official who said the lab tested the samples and found them positive for rape.
Earlier on Saturday, in one of the strongest provisions against sexual assault, the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance that will allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping minors up to 12 years of age. New provisions will also be added that mandates a two month deadline for investigating a rape case and another two months for the court to complete the trials. Any appeal against the conviction cannot take more than six months.
The BJP-led government had come under heavy criticism for its delayed response to the case after two of its party members and ministers in the J&K government defended the accused and participated in a procession in their support. The ministers were later forced to resign from the state cabinet with the BJP distancing itself from any support to the accused.