Row over CBI probe into Kathua case deepens

JAMMU: The controversy over the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua has escalated after Union Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh supported the demand for a CBI probe into the case.

editorial@tribune.com

Arteev Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 22

The controversy over the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua has escalated after Union Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh supported the demand for a CBI probe into the case.

While former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah opposed the idea of a CBI inquiry into the case, the Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM), an organisation spearheading the agitation in favour of the demand, today lashed out at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for acting in a “sectarian manner”.

“The case is being handled by the J&K Police. If @MehboobaMufti agrees to hand the case over to the CBI it will be another instalment in the price she’s paying to remain CM,” Omar tweeted while reacting to the Union Minister’s statement.

On February 20, the Union Minister had said that there was no harm in having a CBI inquiry if the people were not satisfied with the Crime Branch investigation. He had also made a veiled attack on the Chief Minister for making “judgemental remarks”, saying that “we have courts to decide as to who is the culprit and who is innocent”.

Meanwhile, the HEM has reiterated its demand for a CBI investigation into the alleged murder of the minor girl. “All of us condemn in unequivocal terms the alleged murder of the minor girl in the Rasana area and demand that the real culprits be given exemplary punishment as per law of the land. We have never issued any certificate of innocence to anybody who has been arrested by the state police. To do so, will be utterly irresponsible and against justice,” Vijay Sharma, HEM president, told reporters here.

Flanked by senior leaders of the organisation, Sharma said, “The way the whole incident has been handled by the state government at the highest level and segments of the mainstream political parties, it shows an inclination to communalise a criminal act”.

The HEM leader said, “It is appalling that the Chief Minister has become a willing tool in this campaign. How come the Chief Minister issued a tweet that the deceased minor was raped and the arrested accused were rapists and guilty of the crime of murder when the forensic report is yet to come to any conclusion and the inquiry is yet to give a verdict?” Sharma appealed to the government to “defuse” the situation in Kathua and Hiranagar areas by handing over the inquiry to the CBI immediately. The body of an eight-year-old girl was found from the forest area in Rasana village in Hirangar on January 17. The government ordered the constitution of a special investigation team and a magisterial probe. Later, the case was handed over to the Crime Branch. So far, a juvenile and two special police officers have been arrested in connection with the case.

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