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Kathua gang-rape: Jammu observes shutdown against PDP-BJP government

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

A complete shutdown was observed on Wednesday in Jammu against the PDP-BJP government’s refusal to transfer to the CBI the case of rape and murders of a minor girl belonging to a nomadic tribe and deportation of Rohingyas who have illegally settled here.

The call for the bandh was given by the High Court Bar Association of Jammu and was supported by various social organizations. Although the local Chamber of Commerce and a transporters body did not join the bandh call, but the shutdown was complete in the old city, Gandhi Nagar and certain other areas where all business establishments remained shut. Police was deployed in strength to prevent any violent incident.

Although some ministers belonging to the BJP had earlier supported the demand for transferring the heinous criminal case to the CBI, but the organizational secretary of the party, Ashok Kaul, is reported to have said that the BJP was not supporting the bandh call.

The rape and murder incident of a girl belonging to the nomadic Gujjar-Bakarwal community on January 17 in the Kathua district that was a heinous crime has taken an ugly turn dividing the state again on communal lines. The lawyers, various social and religious groups have rejected the investigation done by the state’s crime branch.

Lawyers also blocked the Jammu—Delhi highway at Kathua where the police had yesterday registered a FIR against the lawyers who allegedly tried to prevent the crime branch from filing the charge sheet before the court.

There were allegations that the separatists and leaders of Kashmir centric political parties were driving the crime branch team investigations. Separatist Syed Alishah Geelani has been almost every day issuing statements pertaining to the rape and murder case.

President of the Jammu Bar Association, BS Salathia, said those who had driven out the Hindus from the Kashmir valley under their ethnic cleansing plan have no right to accuse the people of Jammu of communalizing the unfortunate incident.

Salathia said that the court will look into the matter as the crime branch has filed the charge sheet before a Kathua based court. However, their other demands were deportation of the Rohingyas who, he said, have become a security threat and withdrawal of minutes of a meeting wherein it had ordered to the police not to give protection to the operations against encroachments on government lands by those belonging to nomadic tribes.

While the BJP organizational secretary did not support the shutdown, two senior ministers of the party, Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga had demanded that the case be transferred to the CBI. The minister of state in the PMO, Jitendera Singh had also said there was no harm in shifting the case to CBI if the people do not have faith in the police investigations.

The opposition National Conference has demanded that the case should be transferred to some other court from Kathua.