Pathankot: Three main accused in the gangrape-and-murder of an eight-year-old nomad girl from Kathua were on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment by a court here, lawyers said.

Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, have been convicted under Ranbir Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention, the lawyers said.

They have been sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs 1 lakh each for murder along with 25 years in jail for gangrape, they said.

Three accomplices -- Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma -- who were convicted for destruction of evidence have been handed over five years imprisonment, they said.

The eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed on January 10, 2018.

The seventh accused, Vishal, who is the son of main accused Sanji Ram, was acquitted.

The District and Sessions Court in Punjab's Pathankot was turned into a fortress today, as a large number of security personnel and riot control vehicles were deployed ahead of verdict.

The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua, after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.

The in-camera trial concluded on June 3 last week. All of them, except the juvenile, are currently lodged in Gurdaspur jail in Punjab.

According to the 15-page charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.

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