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BJP supports rape and murder accused

Top BJP leaders in Jammu have openly supported a group formed to protest the arrests made by the police crime branch in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the minority community.

By MUZAFFAR RAINA
  • Published 3.03.18
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Srinagar: Top BJP leaders in Jammu have openly supported a group formed to protest the arrests made by the police crime branch in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the minority community.

The girl's body was recovered on January 17 in a village in Jammu's Kathua, a week after she was abducted.

The Mehbooba Mufti government ordered a crime branch probe last month after protests over the police allegedly shielding the culprits and those arrested, including special officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar.

The arrests have sparked communal tension in the district and a group, the Hindu Ekta Manch, was floated to fight for the accused and demand that the government hand over the case to the CBI.

Mehbooba expressed outrage after hundreds hit the streets in Kathua, holding the Tricolour, in defence of the rapists.

Top BJP leaders, including forest minister Chowdhary Lal Singh and industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga and MLAs Rajeev Jasrotia and Kuldip Raj, who represent four Assembly segments in Kathua, have come out openly in support of the Manch.

The leaders on Thursday told a gathering in Kathua that they would demand that the Mehbooba government transfer the case to the CBI, with one minister pledging to fight the "jungle raj" - an apparent reference to the state government's decision to hand over the case to the crime branch.

The BJP leaders claimed that they too wanted the rapists and killers to be punished but they would not allow the police to arrest people "at will".

"I am pained (with what happened with the girl). The girl should get justice... (but) where is the SSP sahib? Get him here. Jungle raj has been unleashed and nobody should be arrested the way they are doing it," industries minister Ganga told the crowd.

Gupta expressed surprise at how "kids" of different age groups - "one 14 years old, another 22, another 28 and another 37" - were picked up during the investigations.

"Madam CM is not here.... We will meet her and hold the officers (of the crime branch who are making the arrests) accountable," he said.

"I don't want that there be no investigation. But there should be no British type of investigation and we will not allow that. This is not British rule but a democracy.... If any kid is arrested, the local police should be informed first, there should be a medical test and if they (the accused) suffer a scratch, a case should be slapped on them (crime branch officers)," Gupta added.