The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) has rejected the parole plea of Sanji Ram, the key conspirator in the Kathua rape and murder case of January 2018.
Ram had approached HC seeking eight-week parole to attend the marriage ceremony of his son. The court declined to grant him parole following a report from SSP, Crime Branch, Jammu, in which it was stated that if the petitioner is granted parole, there is apprehension of community clashes and protests in J&K.
“Consequently, given the genuine apprehension expressed as regards the possible law and order consequences if the petitioner’s prayer for parole is granted, the court is not inclined to accept such prayer at this stage,” the bench of justice S Muralidhar and justice Avneesh Jhingan said.
On June 10, 2019, the Pathankot special court, while holding that strained relations between the local Hindu community and nomadic Bakarwal Muslims was strong motive behind the rape and murder, had convicted Sanji Ram, Parvesh Kumar and Deepak Khajuria and awarded them life term.
Ram was the village head and priest of the temple where the crime took place. The Supreme Court had transferred the case from Jammu in May 2018. The rape and murder of the girl had resulted in widespread chaos in J&K. The trial court had also convicted three cops for destroying evidence and helping the accused. Appeals of all convicts are pending in the high court.