Jammu: The government was cornered by the opposition on Monday over the arrest of a Gujjar activist who has been rallying for justice in the case of rape-and-murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu region.
The activist, Talib Hussain, was arrested by police on Sunday for creating “nuisance” after he held a public demonstration demanding arrest of “other accused” in the case. The 8-year-old girl, from the Gujjar community, was hacked to death in Kathua and her body was found with signs of sexual abuse. The shocking crime made the government order a magisterial probe along with suspending the police station house officer (SHO) of Hiranagar. The girl was abducted on January 10 and her body was found on January 17, three kilometres away from her home in Rasana area of Kathua.
On Monday, opposition legislators accused government forces of ruthlessly beating and injuring members of Gujjar community who were demanding justice in the case.
Congress legislator Ghulam Mohamad Saroori said in the state assembly, “Police have used intense force against the members of Gujjar community who were holding protests demanding justice. Many are injured and lie in hospital.”
Other opposition members sought action against policemen for cane-charging the Gujjars when they blocked the highway to protest the brutal murder.
“It is unfortunate that when the community was yet mourning the death of the minor girl, police lathi-charged them,” Saroori said, and asked, “What is this government doing?”
Independent MLA Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen asked, “Is it a move to forcibly remove them (Gujjars) from their land?” he asked. “Take the issue seriously so that it does not take on any other colour,” he told the government, and added, “Ensure safety of their life and property.”
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Abdul Rehman Veeri, told the Legislative Assembly: “when police reached the spot, the cops were attacked by the protesting mob with iron rods and wood logs resulting in injuries to at least 4-5 police personnel.”
“One advocate Talib has been taken into preventive detention and will be released soon,” Veeri added.