Jammu: The three friends of an accused in the Kathua rape and murder case, namely Sahil Sharma, Sachin Sharma and Neeraj Sharma had filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India alleging that they are being harassed by the state police. According to their plea, they had already recorded their statements before the police and the magistrate.The three witnesses had in their statement before the magistrate said they gave their statement to the police under coercion. The Supreme Court in a significant order given on 16th of this month had allowed a relative of each of the three witnesses to accompany them on the condition that such relatives shall not enter the investigation room and witness their interrogation from “a reasonably visible distance”, stated Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party, in a press release issued by the Party.
“We hope and trust the state shall carry investigation in a most fair manner without pressurizing the witnesses”, observed the three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India. However, after the Crime Branch resumed the interrogations after the said order of the Supreme Court, it failed to comply with the order and did not allow the relatives to accompany the three boys, alleged the Press Release. The matter was brought immediately to the notice of senior BJP leadership by the families of the three students. The BJP leadership immediately swung into action and brought the alleged violation of the Supreme Court order to the notice of DGP, J&K. The DGP sensing the gravity of the situation and the consequences of non-adherence to the orders of the Honourable Supreme Court, immediately ordered the Crime Branch officials to comply with the orders, according to Brig Gupta. Since the Supreme Court did not concede to the request of video-recording of the interrogation, presence of a relative during hearing and be able to “witness from a reasonably visible distance” is the next best option and there should be no dilly-dallying in that aspect demanded the spokesperson. Crime Branch must follow the order of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit and ensure that the interrogation is done within the visible distance of the family member so that any possibility of coercion and harassment as alleged by the three students is ruled out said Brig Gupta.