· Rape and murder of the eight year old Bakerwal girl in Kathua (Jammu) in January, 2018 had acquired communal overtones.
· Jammu Police team which had investigated the case held that the crime was committed to strike terror and drive the nomadic Bakerwal community, to which the girl child belonged, away from the area.
· Local residents, primarily Hindu, alleged that the Bakerwals, who rear sheep and are seasonal migrants, were involved in illegal cattle and drug trade.
· Police accused a former revenue official and well-known local figure, Sanjhi Ram, devised a plot to kidnap, rape and murder the girl. The other accused were Sanjhi Ram’s nephew (a juvenile), Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra, an undergraduate student, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, and another juvenile, who is the first juvenile’s friend.
· On April 9, 2018 when the police went to the court to file the charge sheet, lawyers tried to prevent them from filing it and created a ruckus, which led the Supreme Court to intervene.
· In June, 2018 the Supreme Court had ordered a “day-to-day in camera trial”
· The District & Sessions Court at Pathankot held 275 hearings and examined 132 witnesses.
· Jammu Police maintained that the nephew of Sanjhi Ram, a teenager, had been roughed up by the Bakerwals for teasing a girl of the community earlier. This is what prompted him to lure the eight-year old to the Devi Sthan belonging to Sanjhi Ram, where the girl was kept captive.
· The juvenile made a confessional statement. He was re-examined in the presence of his father and a social worker.
· The Prosecution also alleged that some police officers were paid lakhs of Rupees to derail the investigation and prosecution.
· The Defence had trashed the prosecution case and alleged that the accused were framed and the case blown up to collect money by a social worker Talib Hussain, who worked among the Bakerwals.
· The Defence pointed to several earlier charges of rape against Hussain, one by his estranged wife, to question his credibility.