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Horrifying details have emerged as a gang is put on trial for brutally murdering a child from Kashmir, who was allegedly held captive for days and repeatedly raped before she was killed inside a Hindu temple
A POLICE officer allegedly begged to rape an eight-year-old girl "one last time" before she was strangled and stoned to death, a court heard. Asifa Bano was held captive for days and repeatedly violated before she was murdered inside a Hindu temple in January, according to reports.
An eight strong Hindu gang - including four cops and a child - were arrested over the brutal torture and murder of the Muslim little girl in Kathua in Kashmir, India. They have denied being involved but as they stood trial today more shocking allegations have been made in the murder case that has shocked a nation. Asifa was strangled and stoned twice in the head "to make sure" she was dead, the court heard.
But before the murder was carried out a policeman allegedly made a demand to rape her one last time, Al Jazeera reports. The youngster was then gang raped yet again, according to reports. It has also emerged the murdered schoolgirl's father has pleaded for the trial to be moved to another state because his family is facing death threats.
Asifa was allegedly lured away from a field before being held captive in a small Hindu temple. She was sexually assaulted over five days before being battered around the head with a rock. Her horrific ordeal has sparked religious rioting across India, which is an already polarised region.
Hindu right-wing groups protested the arrest of eight Hindu men over the brutal attack. Those arrested include a retired government official, four police officers and a minor - all of whom belong to a local Hindu community that has been involved in an ongoing land dispute with the Muslim nomads. In response, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand justice for the child, with calls for government intervention.
Asifa's dead body was found dumped in a forest in Indian-administered Kashmir after she was abducted, drugged, repeatedly raped and then battered to death in January. The child was a member of a nomadic Muslim tribe living near the city of Kathua.
Indian media reports that the child’s family belong to a community of Muslim nomadic shepherds who crisscross the Himalayas with their livestock. In the winter months, these shepherds travel from the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley to the Hindu-majority Jammu, where they use public forest land for grazing - sparking conflict with some Hindus in the region.
Investigators believe that the men accused of killing Asifa were looking for ways to force the nomads out of Jammu.
Police claim the rape and murder of the child was intricately planned by Sanji Ram, believed to be the custodian of the Hindu temple where the crime was committed. He is accused of trying to pay local officers 500,000 rupees (£5,400) to create false evidence as part of efforts to lead investigators away from him and his associates.
According to local media, police say Ram had been a staunch opponent of the settlement of Muslim tribes in the area and saw Asifa as a soft target to frighten the group into leaving. Outrage across the country intensified after it emerged that two ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused men.
A number of high-profile names from the Bollywood film industry have joined the public outcry for justice. Director and actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted: “Imagine what goes through the mind of an eight-year-old as she is drugged, held captive, gang raped over days and then murdered.
“If you don’t feel her terror, you are not human. If you don’t demand Asifa get justice, you belong to nothing.”
Actor Riteish Deshmukh said: “An eight-year-old is drugged, raped and murdered and another one is fighting for justice for herself and the death of her father in custody. “We have a choice either raise your voice or be a silent spectator. ‘Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone.’#Kathua #Unnao”
While actor Akshay Kumar added: “Yet again we've failed as a society. “Can't think straight as more chilling details on little Asifa's case emerge...her innocent face refuses to leave me. Justice must be served, hard and fast!”
Lyricist Javed Akhtar expressed his anger: “Who was Asifa? She was an eight years old daughter of Bakerwals. “Who are Bakerwals ? A nomad tribe who when spotted the Kargil intruders promptly informed the army.
“Who are the people who are trying to protect the rapists of this little girl? Now it is your turn to answer.” Actress and model Sonam Kapoor said: “Ashamed appalled and disgusted by fake nationals and fake Hindus. “I cannot believe this is happening in my country.”
A number of other big names from across India’s movie and sporting worlds have taken to posting the same message on a white sign. It reads: “I am Hindustan [I am India] “I am ashamed. “#JusticeforAsifa #JusticeForOurChild “8 years old! Gangraped! “Murdered in a temple!!? “#Kathua #KathuaHorror #Unnao”