The gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl inside a Hindu temple in Jammu had sent shock-waves across the globe.
The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June 2018 at the district and sessions court in Pathankot, Punjab, after the Supreme Court of India (SC) ordered that the case be shifted out of J&K.
According to reports, the juvenile Vishal, son of the village head Sanji Ram, who was accused of being the mastermind of the crime, has been acquitted of all charges. One local police officer, also involved in the crime, had requested his accomplices to let him rape the 8-year-old child for one last time before killing her. Arguments on quantum of punishment is likely to be announced at 2 p.m.
Ram, Khajuria and Surinder Kumar were accused of direct involvement in the crime, while Datta and Raj were accused of helping them cover up the act.
Ram, his son Vishal and his juvenile nephew, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias "Dipu" and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu have been arrested by the Crime Branch.
In this April 14, 2018, photo, Kashmiri activists hold torches and march to protest the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl, in Srinagar, Kashmir. The top court also told the accused that he should point out all infirmities during the trial. The situation will be monitored closely, officials have said.
The barbarity of the case came to the fore in a 16-page charge sheet presented by the crime branch - a special wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police - in April a year ago.
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The lawyer representing the accused said that despite the conviction, the case was based on "circumstantial evidence" and has pleaded for minimum punishment for the six men.
The charge sheet also names head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta - who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
The Kathua rape and murder was one among many high-profile cases that prompted India to introduce a new law which mandated the death penalty to anyone convicted of raping a child under 12.
"Accordingly, on the basis of medical opinion, Section 376 (D) of the Indian Penal Code was added in the case".
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud also dismissed a separate plea filed by two other accused in the case seeking transfer of the investigation in the matter to an independent agency.
The nomad girl, who enjoyed taking horses for grazing in the forest near her home, was abducted by eight people with an aim to drive the minority Muslim community out of the village, according to the police investigation.
The girl's family approached India's Supreme Court for protection, saying they had received threats to their lives.