Kathua rape and murder case: Amid protests in support of accused, Jammu and Kashmir Government says rapists of minor girl will be brought to justice

The Jammu and Kashmir government condemned politicization of rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and asserted that the law would take its course to bring the accused to justice.

Published: 03rd March 2018 07:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2018 07:49 PM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (File | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Notwithstanding the protests and bandh by Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) in support of the three accused including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) arrested for their involvement in rape and murder of minor girl  and support extended to agitators by two BJP ministers, Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday condemned politicization of rape and murder of 8-year-old girl in Kathua and asserted that the law would 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,” said Minister for Works and government spokesman Naeem Akhtar.

He said law would take its course to bring the accused to justice.

Eight-year-old nomad girl Asifa Bano of Rasana village of border district of Kathua had gone missing on January 10 and her body with torture and violence marks was recovered on January 17. The girl was sexually abused by his captors before being killed.

The Crime Branch is probing minor girl’s abduction, rape and murder and has arrested three people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) for their involvement in the crime.

However, the arrests have not gone well Hindu Ekta Manch. The Manch is agitating over the issue and demanding release of the arrested SPOs and handing over of case to CBI.

Two State BJP ministers Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga have also extended support to the HEM and asked police not to detain anybody. The two ministers have said people have lost faith in Crime Branch and the case should be handed over to CBI.

On the call of HEM and supported by other groups, a partial bandh was observed in Kathua to demand release of accused and handing over of case to CBI.

Indirectly hitting out at HEM and BJP ministers, Akhtar said, “Instead of trying to whip up communal passions on the shameful criminal act, the law enforcing agencies should be allowed to bring the criminals to justice.”

He said the same politicians who are questioning the professional capabilities of the police and want it to be kept out of investigations into Kathua incident, make a beeline to offer tributes when personnel of the same force are killed while fighting elements inimical to peace.

“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,” the PDP minister said.

He said whether it is J&K Police or for that matter any other investigating agency, they would catch the criminals and bring them to justice as such individuals are a cancer for the whole society.

“If innocent Asifa fell victim to a felon today, tomorrow it can be anybody’s daughter or sister. Any kind of political patronage will only embolden such criminals to have their way,” added Akhtar.

After the HEM and BJP minister’s statement, the government had faced flak from opposition parties and other groups.

Another PDP leader and Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari said the case is being investigated in a very professional manner and would be taken to its logical end.

He said it was a shameful incident and people should avoid giving any political and religious colour to such unfortunate incidents.

“There will be no compromise on any angle of the investigations and the culprits will be brought to book without any fail,” he asserted.

On demands of handing over case to CBI, Bukhari said, “The Crime Branch will conclude the investigations in a time bound manner. I assure you on behalf of the government that we will not fail to deliver justice in this matter”.

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