On Monday, the apex court transferred the trial in rape and murder case of eight-year-old Kathua girl from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot, Punjab. The decision was taken after the apex court observed that there was a need to shift the trial outside the state as fear would hamper fair trial in the case. The court besides vacating the stay on the case, also stressed on speedy trial to ensure there isn’t delay in the adjudication of the matter. The court also rejected handing over the probe to CBI, saying that investigation has been conducted and charge sheet filed. The court decision has been hailed by the people, and will also bring some relief to the victim’s parents who had sought the transfer of the case. The decision also serves as a grim reminder of the polarization that has made inroads in the state. The case was transferred to Pathankot after deliberations during which other districts of the state were considered. Udhampur, Jammu, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch, Rajouri, Doda – none of these places, as is apparent, assured a peaceable location for the transfer of the case. Communal politics played up in the state, particularly in Jammu region, has tried to sabotage the case and further intimidate the victim’s community. Even after the forced resignation of BJP ministers, some demonstrations were held in the region. The government too failed to come up to the public expectations as some ministers who reportedly had also participated in rallies were sworn in. The rape and murder of the Kathua girl has exposed the dangerous fault line in the state, and communal parties are said to take full advantage of the deep rooted polarization. It is the fourth year of the coalition government and so far there seems to be no efforts from government or political quarters to bridge the gap. The heinous crime and making it Hindu-Muslim issue is just a beginning. The court has rightly transferred the case to Pathankot, as all districts in Jammu have been usurped by communal forces, which would have obstructed fair trial and justice in the case, the same way they tried to block filing of the charge sheet. It has also brought shame to the state as we are losing the secure space where a fair trial could take place. The gulf between the two regions will widen only, if communal politics is allowed to eat into the vitals of the state. In the worst case scenario, the state may become the seat for riots and communal flare-ups.