Political parties decried “communalisation and politicisation” of the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also criticised a protest on Wednesday that demanded the release of a police officer accused of raping and murdering the minor girl.
A week after she went missing, eight-year-old’s body was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17.
Six days later, the state government handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police, which arrested a Special Police Officer, Deepak Khajuria, accusing him of perpetrating the crime.
Charges fabricated, Hindu Ekta Manch alleges
Some residents of nearby villages and members of Hindu Ekta Manch, however, have critices the investigation as being botched and conducted under “tremendous fabricated pressure”. They are asking for the case to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“The way the Crime Branch and the Police have acted so far, it is clear the government’s intentions were not clear. We want a transparent and fair probe into the case. For that, the case should be handed over to the CBI,” said Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of the Hindu Ekta Manch, as quoted by The Tribune.
On Wednesday, February 14, members of the Hindu Ekta Manch took out a protest rally to demand the release of the arrested Special Police Officer
According to Kashmir Life, the protest was led by BJP leader and leaders of Hindu Ekta Manch. The rally was held from Ghagwal to Hiranagar in Kathua.
Ruling PDP and Opposition NC condemn the protests
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the J&K People’s Democratic Party (PDP) expressed shock over the protests on social media.
“Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration. The accused has been arrested & the law will follow its course,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
Devender Singh Rana, the provisional president of the K&K National Conference (NC), said the criminals and their sympathisers, irrespective of their religious backgrounds, should be dealt with strictly.
Can politics stoop to such depths where barbaric acts against a girl child falls prey to religious chauvinism, Mr Rana was quoted by NDTV as asking, adding those spearheading the cause of a criminal or criminals should have vouched for the victim whose “agony and wilderness at the time of commission of the crime might have shook the heavens”.