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Posted at: Mar 9, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: Mar 9, 2018, 12:47 AM (IST)MINOR’S MURDER

Hiranagar on edge as ‘peace march’ for CBI probe foiled

Locals lathicharged, cop held for ‘destroying proof’
Hiranagar on edge as ‘peace march’ for CBI probe foiled
The police detain Hindu Ekta Manch leaders in Hiranagar on Thursday. Tribune Photo

Sanjay Pathak

Kathua, March 8

Tension flared up in the Hiranagar subdivision of Kathua district after the police resorted to a lathicharge and used teargas shells on locals who were demanding a CBI probe into the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl at Rasana village in January this year.

Trouble erupted after the locals tried to take out a ‘peace march’ against the alleged biased and lopsided investigation being conducted by the Crime Branch in the case. According to police sources, around 200 people, including women and several former sarpanches, were allegedly detained after the lathicharge. J&K National Panthers Party state chief Balwant Singh Mankotia was also detained. The police sources said prominent leaders of Hindu Ekta Manch were picked up prior to the scheduled march. When the police stopped the march, a local resident Vijay Kumar received serious injuries during a scuffle with cops. As this infuriated the protesters, the police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse them. It also used teargas shells.

After the news of the police action spread, villagers in the Kathua border belt also shut their shops and started protesting against the state government. Shops and business establishments also remained closed throughout the day in various towns of Kathua and Samba districts.

Meanwhile, sources said a police sub-inspector was detained and a head constable was arrested by the Crime Branch for their alleged involvement in destroying crucial evidence in the alleged rape and murder case of a minor girl whose body was found from a forest area of Rasana village on January 17.

“The arrest was made a day after a report exposed how the police, which initially handled the investigation, had destroyed the crucial evidence,” the sources said.

“Constable Tilak Raj posted at the Hiranagar police station was detained after it was prima facie established that he had washed the victim’s clothes that were soaked in blood and mud before sending them for a forensic test. Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who was the investigating officer, has been detained for questioning,” the sources said. Local police officers, however, refused to comment on the development.

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