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It Was The Most Difficult Task, Sleep Eluded Me: Female Officer Who Investigated Kathua Rape Case

  • IWB Post
  •  April 16, 2018

The gruesome rape and murder of eight-year-old in Kathua has shaken the nation enough for people to take to the streets and demand justice for the child.

But this was not an easy case to crack for the investigating officers. Once it was clear that the local police was deliberately botching the investigation, the government of Jammu and Kashmir assigned the investigation to the crime branch. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) functioned under the supervision of Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) of Crime, Aloke Puri, and Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba, besides Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Crime Branch Jammu Ramesh Kumar Jalla. Headed by Additional Superintendent of Police (SP) Crime Naveed Pirzada, it had Deputy SP Shwetambri, Sub Inspector Irfan Wani, Inspector KK Gupta and Assistant Sub Inspector of Police Tariq Ahmad as its members.

Deputy SP Shwetambri, the only woman member of the team, was the one who entered the devsthan and seized material evidence, including the victim’s hair strands in the presence of a magistrate. She recently spoke to The Quint about how this case was cracked. Excerpts:

On going against all odds

“The people we believed were involved in the gruesome rape and murder of that 8-year-old angel, their relatives and sympathisers, including a multitude of the lawyers, left no stone unturned to disrupt our investigation. They went to the extreme of our humiliation and harassment. But we stood our ground firmly till the end.”

“We worked against heavy odds. At times we were disappointed, particularly when we learned that even the men of Hiranagar Police Station had been bribed to hush up the case and they had washed away the young victim’s clothes to destroy material evidences. Yet we cracked this rape and murder mystery during the holy navrataras. I believe there was a divine intervention to bring the culprits to justice. I believe Durga Mata had her hand on our head.”

“I had no religion.”

“As most of the accused were Brahmins, they over-emphasised their surnames. They particularly tried to influence me and communicated through different means that we belonged to one religion and one caste and I must not hold them guilty of the rape and murder of a Muslim girl. I told them that as an officer of the J&K Police, I had no religion and my only religion was my police uniform.”

“When all such tactics failed, their families and sympathisers resorted to blackmailing and intimidation through whatever means at hand. They carried lathis, shouted slogans, organised rallies under the tricolour and blocked our roads to different villages and finally the court. But with perseverance and patience we stood our ground to carry out our job with total determination, commitment and professionalism.”

On the interrogation

“It was the most difficult task. Sleep eluded me. I stayed awake for nights. I was not available as my husband’s partner, when he went for family and social commitments. I couldn’t take care of my child properly who had to be prepared for exams. But thank God we have been successful in our job and I am satisfied that I, along with other members of my team, have done something to bring those rapists and killers to justice.”

H/T: The Quint


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