Kathua ‘rape’ and murder: CM cautions Jammu against communal chord

Srinagar, Mar 04: In the backdrop of recent controversy sparked by the Kathua rape and murder case of a minor Bakerwal girl last month, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be cautious about the forces that are trying to create a communal wedge in the State.
While addressing the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Youth Convention in Jammu, Mehbooba said that Jammu has “displayed a sign of secularism” all these years, where people of different religious backgrounds live together in peace and harmony.
She, however, cautioned them against the designs of “some vested elements hell-bent on disturbing the peace and harming the communal chord of the place”.
“Sunjwan army camp was an attempt to disturb the religious brotherhood in Jammu region. Similarly, the Kathua incident where a minor girl was murdered, unfortunately, the incident is given an angle of religious hatred where our brotherhood is been aimed,” Mehbooba said, further appealing the youth to keep the peace and harmony intact.
Mehbooba, however, ducked the question of a reporter, who had asked her about BJP’s demand for a CBI probe in the Kathua rape incident.
Earlier, on Thursday, two BJP ministers Chowdhary Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash had attended a rally of Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) which was held in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.
Last month, on January 17, the body of a minor Muslim girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar after a week.
On January 23, the PDP government had ordered a probe into the incident and subsequently handed over the case to the Crime Branch of Police.
While the police reports say she had been abducted and raped, media reports later revealed that she had been even drugged to keep her from trying to help.
According to the investigative reports, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria, who was arrested by the Crime Branch on February 9, had also said that it was a “well-planned move and the motive was to spread fear among the Bakarwal community.”
Yet, HEM has been protesting in support of the arrested policeman, demanding transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Mehbooba, while addressing the event, also praised the “big-hearted” people of Jammu for giving shelters to Pandits and also the local Muslims of Kashmir.
“People of Jammu bravely welcomed and offered shelter to Kashmiri Pandits when they migrated from Kashmir and they also opened their arms to embrace Muslims when they moved to Jammu for better education during last two years,” she said.
Mehbooba also said there are youngsters in the valley who feel “depressed” due to the conflict, but once they come to Jammu, “they breathe open air”.
While talking about the growing unemployment in the state, Mehbooba said that her party is trying her best to curb the problem and provide opportunities to the youth.
“There is so much of unemployment in this state that only government is not enough,” she said, adding that “militancy and infiltration” are the one of the reasons that the “development is at halt” in J&K.
“We have become the victims of unrest, cross-border firings, militancy, fidayeen attacks. I appeal every youth of the state if you want to overcome all the odds, support the PDP,” she said.
Mehbooba also said that she has discussed the issue of revoking SRO-202 in front of the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the talks are going on.
“I am aware of the problems the youth of J&K is facing, and I assure everyone, we will find a solution.”

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