SRINAGAR: The arrest of a Special Police Officer (SPO) in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in J&K’s Kathua district has taken an ugly turn with right-wing activists protesting and warning of agitation if the SPO was not released.
On Wednesday, the Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) took out a protest rally from Ghagwal to Hiranagar area to protest the arrest of SPO Deepak Khajuria. The minor girl had gone missing on January 10. Her body with torture and violence marks was found seven days later.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asserted the law would take its own course. She termed the use of the tri-colour by HEM workers and leaders as “nothing short of desecration”. “Appalled by the marches and protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua,” the CM tweeted.
The PDP-BJP coalition government handed over the case to the crime branch of the police. Subsequently, Khajuria and a minor boy were rounded up for kidnapping, raping and murdering the girl. The arrest came as a shock to many as the SPO was in the police team that had searched for the girl.
The sensational case has rocked the budget session in the Assembly with the Opposition members alleging that the police was trying to save the culprits and trying to hush-up the matter up.
But the HEM warned of agitation if Khajuria was not released from police custody. “We are against the murder of the girl but we don’t want our men framed. We have lost faith in police investigations,” a HEM worker said
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP has distanced itself from the HEM. “We want that whoever has taken law into his hand and committed a crime should be punished. There should be no leniency with the person who has done wrong,” BJP state spokesman Arun Gupta told The New Indian Express.
“If the SPO has committed any wrong, he has to face the law.” Gupta said the party has nothing to do with the right-wing outfit. “We don’t support the HEM. We don’t have any link with the organisation,”