FIR against lawyers for protesting against Crime Branch officials

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has filed FIR against a group of lawyers for protesting and attempting to prevent the Crime Branch officials from performing their duty of filing charge sheet against eight persons in the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl. The Crime Branch, probing the alleged rape and murder of the girl in Kathua district, filed the charge sheet against seven of the eight accused in the case at a court in Kathua, amid protests by local lawyers yesterday. The case has become communally sensitive and various political parties have jumped into the controversy with allegations and counter-allegations over handling of the matter. On Tuesday, the Crime Branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, probing the alleged rape and murder of the minor girl, filed a separate charge sheet against a juvenile accused in the case at a court in Kathua district. “An FIR has been lodged against a group of lawyers who held protests and tried to prevent the Crime Branch officials from performing their duty,” a senior police official said.

He said that the lawyers have not been identified so far and their identification is part of the investigation.
Accompanied by the accused, a team of Crime Branch faced stiff resistance from the members of the Kathua Bar Association, who chanted slogans “go back crime branch” during filing of the charge sheet and held protests.
The Kathua Bar Association claimed that the Crime Branch was compelled to leave the premises without filing the charge sheet.

On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the Crime Branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and arrested eight persons, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.

Among the accused, former revenue official and the alleged conspirator, Sanji Ram (60), surrendered before the Crime Branch on March 20 after his son, Vishal, was arrested from Uttar Pradesh. “All the members of the Bar have strongly agitated against the presentation of challan (charge sheet) by the Crime Branch in the Rassana case,” president of the Kathua Bar Association, Kirty Bhushan Mahajan, said in a statement.

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