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SPO arrested for rape-and-murder of minor Kathua girl: Police

SPO arrested for rape-and-murder of minor Kathua girl: Police
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Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested a Special Police Officer (SPO) for the rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua area of Jammu, reports said today.

“Police official held for rape and murder of 8 year old girl in Kathua. It has shaken our soul for ever. Kudos to IGP Mr Puri for professional and timely investigation,” tweeted Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, DC Rajouri.

Eight-year-old nomad girl was found dead on January 17 a week after her abduction in Rasana village of Heera Nagar area of Kathua district.

NDTV, quoting Alok Puri, the Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch Jammu and Kashmir, reported that an SPO Deepak Khajuria who was among those tasked with tracing the girl when she went missing, “raped and murdered the girl after holding her captive for a week”.

“Khujaria, a 28-year-old SPO posted at Police Station Heera Nagar, has been arrested by a Special Investigation Team of the Crime Branch for the incident,” said the report.

The little girl was kidnapped when she was herding horses at Rasana village on January 10. Her disfigured body was found on January 17.

The police said Khujaria, along with an underage boy, raped and murdered the 8-year-old after holding her captive for a week.

“We have clinching evidence about his (Deepak Khajuria’s) involvement. There was motive and we have evidence as well,” NDTV quoted Alok Puri as having said.

According to the report, the accused has confessed to his crime after he was confronted with evidence. The motive behind the crime was to spark fear among the nomad community, it said.

Khujaria was part of a police team that had searched the area after the nomad family filed a missing report at police station at Heera Nagar.

When members of the nomad community held a sit-in protest demanding justice on January 21, the girl’s family said, it was Khujaria who started hitting them with batons. Several people were injured in the police action.

“He was also part of the search party but he was not investigating the case. Now we know what was the motive,” the report quoted Puri as having said.

The investigation has revealed that the kidnapping, rape and murder of young girl were well-planned and the girl had been targeted in advance, he said.

Earlier, a juvenile was arrested in the case. But after allegations of a botched up investigation against the Kathua Police, the case was handed to over to the Crime Branch.

Quoting sources, the report said that Deepak had threatened his underage accomplice with the murder of his parents if he revealed his name. Puri said the involvement of more people cannot be ruled out, it said.

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