HEM chief blames NC leaders of vitiating communal harmony, wants appointment with CM
Srinagar: The Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) has deferred its strike call in Hiranagar in Jammu’s Kathua district after intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The HEM has been leading protests against the arrest of an accused in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl of the nomad Bhakarwal community in Rasana village in Kathua district.
“Minister in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, contacted a senior BJP functionary in Jammu following media reports that blamed the party (BJP) for HEM’s protests. This prompted the local BJP leaders to pressurise the Hindu Ekta Manch to stop their protest programmes,” a BJP official, privy to the development, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also conveyed her displeasure to senior BJP leaders in New Delhi at the protests in Jammu. The protests are being led by BJP state secretary Vijay Kumar through the newly-formed Hindu Ekta Manch.
Mehbooba Mufti had called a rally taken out by the HEM in favour of the rape accused as appalling and outrageous.
HEM Chief Vijay Kumar, however, said that the protest programmes and strike call in Hiranagar area of Kathua had been deferred only to give the government time to respond to the HEM’s demands.
He also said the HEM has sought an appointment with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “We are waiting for the government’s response in the case. The chief minister was very vocal about it. I hope she will resolve the issue amicably. We are trying to meet her for the last few days but she has refused to meet us every time we sent our representatives. I think we are not important for her as she is a big leader and might be busy with other important things,” Kumar said.
The HEM had planned to call for a complete strike in Hiranagar on February 22, if their demand of handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was not met.
The HEM was formed on Januray 23, almost a week after the body of the girl was found in bushes of a forest in Rasana village of Hiranagar. The Manch also took out a protest march on February 16 to press its demands.
“We don’t trust the Crime Branch of the state because they have mishandled many cases in the past as well. Take the example of the Asiya-Neelofar case in Kashmir. This is why we want an impartial probe by CBI,” Kumar said.
The HEM chief blamed National Conference (NC) leaders of “vitiating the communal harmony” in the district.
“National Conference leaders especially Mian Altaf and Vikar Rasool Wani, who have no concern with Kathua district, are misleading people over the situation in Rasana area. Hindus are living in harmony with Muslims but these ‘outsiders’ are trying to divide us by vitiating the atmosphere through misleading statements in the (state) assembly,” Kumar said.
He said the organisation didn’t intimidate any community through its protests. “People are being misled by these leaders who claim to be the messiah of the nomad community. But they forget them in times of distress and do politics over their dead bodies later,” he said.
The Crime Branch has so far arrested two Special Police Officers (SPOs), Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Verma, and a minor boy in connection with the horrible crime. The minor girl, who belonged to the Bakharwal nomad community, was kidnapped when she was shepherding her horses at Rasana village of Kathua on January 10. Her disfigured body was found on January 17. During the police investigations it was established that she was raped before she was murdered.
Khajuria was among the policemen tasked to probe the crime and nab the culprits who abducted the minor girl. As per sources, he was the first to confess to his crime when presented with the evidence against him.
On Tuesday, Kashmir Reader reported that investigations into the rape and murder would be completed within a month as the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is waiting for the forensic report in the case.
“The case against the accused persons will be filed only after receiving forensic confirmation of the evidence gathered by the SIT from various locations,” Additional Director General (ADG), Crime Branch, Alok Puri had told Reader.
“The case is not as simple as it looks. We need to have strong evidence against the accused along with reports from the experts in the forensic laboratory. Then only can we prove anything in the court of law,” the ADG said.