Kathua rape and murder: Police foil Hindu Ekta Manch rally, members raise anti-Mehbooba slogans

Kathua: The right-wing group Hindu Ekta Manch, which is rallying support against the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case on Thursday pelted stones on police when its members tried to block the road at Chadwal and Dyalachak in Kathua district.

The group carried out a march demanding that the case should be handed over to the CBI. The protesters even pelted stones on the police who retaliated with tear smoke shelling. The police also charged protesters with canes who were resorting to inflammatory sloganeering.

Police also arrested National Panthers Party leader Balwant Singh Mankotia from Dyalchak who according to an official wants to ‘foment trouble in the region.’

Mankotia before his arrest told reporters that the Crime Branch is harassing common people. He said that case should be handed over to CBI.

“Mehbooba Mufti has posted her own officers in Crime Branch who are harassing the Hindu community,” Mankotia who lost the previous assembly elections said and alleged that police thrashed protesters without any reason.

NPP supported the Hindu Ekta Manch’s march which police and civil administration described as uncalled for.

Witnesses said that protesters raised anti-Mehbooba Mufti slogans and alleged that she has turned Jammu region into Pakistan.

Crime Branch has already arrested three culprits including two SPO’s while it has also arrested a police officer for destroying the evidences.

Asifa, an 8 year old minor was kidnapped and raped in Rasna Hera Nagar area of Kathua district and since then ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ supported by BJP and NPP are politicizing the issue demanding the case be handed over to Central Bureau Investigation.

On Thursday, the Crime Branch investigating the gruesome rape and murder of a minor girl of Kathua, arrested a head constable and detained sub inspector for questioning.

The arrest comes after a day it came to fore that how the police had initially botched up the probe by destroying crucial evidence. 

Hawaldar Tilak Raj, posted at the Hiranagar police station, was arrested after it was prima facie established that he had washed Asifa’s clothes that were soaked in blood and mud before sending them for forensic test. Sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who was the investigative officer, has been detained for questioning, reported the NDTV.

On January 17, body of minor girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar. The girl had been missing for a week. According to police, she had been abducted and raped by an SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was a part of the team sent out find her when she was missing.

The investigation of the Crime Branch further revealed that she had been drugged so that she couldn’t cry for help.

On January 23, the Mehbooba Mufti government had ordered a probe into the incident, and subsequently handed over the case to the Crime Branch of police. Several people including two policemen have been arrested so far for involvement in the crime.

However, Hindu Ekta Manch has been protesting in support of the arrested policeman, demanding transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.The Chief Minister has already condemned the rallies being held by Hindu Ekta March and also said that raising the tricolour in such rallies amounts to desecration.


(With inputs from CNS)

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