As Kathua shuts, PDP condemns politicization of rape and murder
Protestors demand CBI probe; Minister says JK Police capable of nailing culprits
Kathua: While as various groups, who have been out on streets in support of a cop accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a minor child, staged a sit-in forcing shutdown in Kathua town, demand a CBI probe, a senior PDP minister expressed serious concern over the attempts being made to politicise an inhuman criminal act flaying elements pointing fingers at professional capabilities of JK Police
People in groups had visited various markets in the town last evening to solicit support for the ‘bandh’ today.
The protesters have alleged harassment by crime branch officials investigating the brutal rape and murder of the minor girl, whose body was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she had gone missing in the area.
Most of the shops and business establishments remained shut in the town along the Jammu-Pathankot highway.
Authorities, however, claimed that educational institutions and transport facilities functioned normally.
Several organisations, including the Bar Association and the Hindu Ekta Manch, staged a sit-in in the town.
“We are here to press for a CBI probe… We have lost faith in the crime branch investigation as politics is being played under the garb of probe,” Hindu Ekta Manch president Vijay Sharma said, addressing the protesters.
Sharma alleged that the investigators were harassing a particular community.
Bar Association president Anil Andotra stressed that a fair investigation would restore people’s faith in the system.
On January 23, six days after the minor girl’s body was recovered, the Jammu and Kashmir government had handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police. The crime branch arrested a Special Police Officer (SPO) for his alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of the girl.
Before that, a special investigation team had arrested a 15-year-old boy and claimed that the accused had strangulated the victim after she resisted his rape attempt.
Meanwhile, expressing serious concern over the attempts being made to politicise an inhuman criminal act in Kathua, Senior PDP leader and Minister for Works, Naeem Akhtar today said the law will take its course to bring the accused to justice.
“It is highly deplorable that divisive politics is being played by some people over the most reprehensible act of rape and murder of an innocent girl, which has brought a bad name to the whole society,” Akhtar said in a statement.
He said instead of trying to whip up communal passions over this shameful criminal act, and try to hamper the investigations, the law enforcing agencies should be allowed to bring the criminals to justice to restore the confidence of the people.
“The dangerous attempts of polarizing the situation in the otherwise tolerant and inclusive Jammu region over a dastardly criminal act need to be seen through and discouraged at every level,” he said and complimented the people of Jammu region for having unequivocally condemned this dastardly act of rape and murder of an unsuspecting girl.
Expressing dismay over the fingers being raised on Jammu and Kashmir police, Akhtar said that J&K Police is known for its investigative skills and nobody can question their professional capabilities. He said one must remember that it is the same police force which is making supreme sacrifices to ensure peace and security in the State.
“Ironically, the same politicians who are today questioning the professional capabilities of the police force and want it to be kept out of investigations into Kathua incident, make a beeline to offer tributes when any personnel of the same force sacrifices his life while fighting elements inimical to peace,” he said and added that there can’t be double-standards in valuing the responsibilities of this key institution in one breath and demeaning the same institution in another breath.
“Whether it is J&K Police or for that matter any other investigating agency, they will catch up with the criminal and bring him to justice as such individuals are a cancer for the whole society,” Akhtar said and added that if innocent Ashifa fell victim to a felon today, tomorrow it can be anybody’s daughter or sister, as any kind of political patronage will only embolden such criminals to have their way.
Cautioning of perilous consequences of competitive communal politics being played over an appalling criminal act, the Minister said that the inclusive character of Jammu region has over a period of time emerged as one of its featuring assets leading to holistic development and a fledgling economy in the region. “Any effort to destabilize the peace and tranquillity in the region for political gains, will only lead to dangerous hostility and an economic disaster,” he said and added that while people in Kashmir are already embroiled in a situation which is beyond their control, good sense should prevail in Jammu region to prevent any chaos in the region.
The Minister said the civil society in the region should rise to the occasion and not allow any drift in the situation which could only lead to a destabilizing scenario with huge economic and social costs. He said the people of Jammu region need to be complimented for not allowing the divisive elements to tear the region apart on communal lines.
Ministers’ participation in Kathua rally open challenge to CM: NC
Srinagar: National Conference on Saturday termed the participation of Senior Cabinet Ministers of the PDP-BJP Government in the Hindu Ekta Manch event at Kathua as an open challenge to the authority of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and said this was a conclusive proof that Ministers of the Government were interfering into the ongoing criminal investigation of the heinous rape and murder of an 8 year old child.
In a statement issued from Party Headquarters in Srinagar, NC State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu asked the Chief Minister to explain how prohibitory orders imposed in the area were openly violated by two of her Cabinet Colleagues as well as MLAs from the ruling dispensation and till now why no action under law has been taken on this transgression.
“The Chief Minister on the 16th of February said she was ‘appalled’ by the Hindu Ekta Manch march in favour of the culprits of this heinous crime. Less than two weeks later her Cabinet Colleagues not only participated in but also addressed another such event of the same organization that is trying to politicize the probe to shield the culprits. We want to know how the prohibitory orders were violated and if this was done with the tacit approval of the Chief Minister? If not, then why has no action been taken against the District Administration, the District Police and more importantly the BJP Ministers who made a mockery of the law through their participation? Is the Chief Minister too scared to act? Is power so important to her that she is willing to be ridiculed in such fashion”, the NC State Spokesperson said in the statement.
The NC State Spokesperson said the Judiciary should take a strong note of these brazen attempts to interfere into the ongoing investigation and hold the BJP Ministers, legislators and the organizers of such events legally accountable.
“We appeal to the Hon’ble Courts to take suo moto cognizance of these violations and attempts to create hindrances into an ongoing investigation into a very sensitive matter both for the family of the innocent victim but also the people of the State at large. The law is supreme and if the Chief Minister has failed to uphold her duty then the Hon’ble Courts should take note of this collapse in the law and order machinery and take immediate steps to restore the faith of the people in the law of the land”, the NC State Spokesperson added.
Fringe elements communalising Kathua rape-murder case: CPI (M)
Jammu, Mar 3 (PTI) The CPI (M)’s Jammu and Kashmir unit today alleged that some people were trying to give a “communal colour” to the alleged rape and murder of a eight-year-old girl in Kathua district.
The incident took place in January and day-by-day the matter is becoming controversial, the party claimed.
“A criminal is a criminal irrespective of his caste, colour and creed, and must be dealt according to law. By evoking emotions and giving communal colour to the girl’s rape and murder.
“These fringe elements are committing a heinous crime against the humanity,” The CPI (M)’s Jammu regional committee secretary Sham Prasad Kesar said in a statement here.
Questioning the presence of two senior BJP ministers at a rally organised by a fringe right-wing group protesting against the arrest of the SPO, the CPI (M) leader said a criminal act is being given “communal colour which is unfortunate”.
“It is an irony that the (BJP) ministers are questioning the probe ordered by the state government, of which they are the part. The Crime Branch is a professional state government agency.
“Even the BJP has officially issued a statement, saying what was the objection to hand over the case to the CBI. Why is the BJP and its two ministers questioning the credibility of state institutions,” he said.
However, the Left party leader said the civil society and political groups in Jammu are strong and they should “unite and isolate the fringe elements, who want to communalise the situation in Jammu by holding marches”, Kesar said.