Demanding exemplary punishment for the special police officer arrested on charges of rape and murder of an 8-year old nomad girl in Kathua, the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party on Sunday distanced itself from the protest staged by Hindu EktaManch, headed by Vijay Sharma, to seek release of the accused.
"This is heinous crime. We too want culprits must be given exemplary punishment," BJP, general secretary (Organization) Ashok Koul, told Greater Kashmir. "Case must be investigated thoroughly," he added.
Koul termed the protests staged by rightwing Hindu EktaManch activists as their own decision. "Locals are alleging that police have framed the SPO and he is not involved," he said.
Koul said the residents are also demanding that the case should be handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation. "BJP is not supporting them. Our stand is clear that accused should be punished and law should take its own course," he added.
It may be recalled that the accused SPO Deepak Khujaria was one among the two SPOs arrested by the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police. Khajuria was also among those police men charged to trace the victim when she went missing.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had castigated the Hindu EktaManch for staging protests to seek the release of the accused and had termed the use of tricolor during the demonstration in support of the rapist "as nothing short of desecration of the national flag."
"Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration," Mehbooba had written on the twitter. "The accused has been arrested & the law will follow its course."
The victim, a resident of Rasana village in Kathua district of Jammu had gone missing on January 10, 2018 and her body with torture and violence marks was recovered on January 17, 2018, about one-and-a-half kilometers away from her residence. The girl was sexually assaulted before being killed by the abductors. Crime Branch has so far arrested two SPOs of J&K police in connection with the case.
"The girl was raped and murdered to create fear among the members of the Gujjar community so that they would leave the area," an official had revealed