Kashmir Policeman Detained, Officer Quizzed Over Kathua Rape-Murder

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Thousands of Dogra community members protest demanding justice in Asifa rape-murder cace.

The protesters allege that crime branch officials were harassing members of a particular community in connection with the case.

JAMMU — The Jammu and Kashmir Police has detained a policeman and taken a middle rung officer for questioning over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua district that has strained ties between the ruling PDP and BJP.

The latest developments follow the earlier arrests of two Special Police Officers, Deepak Kumar Khajuria and Surinder Verma, as suspects.

Many senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have demanded that the case be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Peoples Democratic Party leaders, however, insist the Crime Branch would investigate the case. The Crime Branch took charge of the case from the local police following charges of shoddy probe.

Crime Branch sources said Head Constable Tilak Raj was detained and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta called in for questioning over the rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa, a nomad whose body was found in Hiranagar in Kathua district on January 17.

Dutta was earlier the Investigating Officer of the case. The sources said crucial evidence in the case had been destroyed by the investigating policemen.

The sources said the clothes worn by the victim had been washed before handing these over to the Crime Branch.

Dogra community demands CBI probe

Meanwhile,  Police on Thursday baton-charged and tear-gassed protesters during a march taken out by the Dogra community demanding a CBI probe into the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

Several people were injured in the police action and the clashes that followed on Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Chadwal area. One person was reported critical after he was hit by a bus during the protest.

Thousands of Dogra community members had taken out “Ekta Yatra” demanding a CBI investigation into the matter and to protest the mass detention of youngsters by the police. The protesters allege that crime branch officials were harassing members of a particular community in connection with the case.

The minor girl’s body was recovered from a forest area on January 17, a week after she had gone missing. On January 23, the government handed over the case to the crime branch of the police, which arrested two Special Police Officers for their alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of the girl. — IANS, TNN

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