KATHUA: Various groups staged a sit-in while businesses remained shut today in Kathua town in Jammu and Kashmir in support of their demand for a CBI probe into the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in January.
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.