15 Hindu families from Rassana village in Jammu’s Kathua district decided to flee their homes on Tuesday, over allegations that the Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime department was harassing and torturing their children. The case pertains to an unfortunate rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua. The body of the poor girl was recovered from the forests near the Rassana village on 17th January.
As per the villagers, they were under constant fear of random detention of their children under the pretext of questioning. The local villagers weren’t alone in this plight of theirs and were joined in solidarity by hundreds of people from adjoining villages.
As per local reports, the families after leaving their village took refuge under a Peepal tree near Koota’s government Higher Secondary School. As a result, they also violated section 144 which was imposed by the district administration some days back. Later the Hindu Ekta Manch, with the help of locals arranged shelter for the fear-stricken villagers and urged the administration to restore the confidence of the hapless individuals.
As per Vijay Sharma, the Hindu Ekta Manch’s president, the accused were never supported by them and a fair investigation needed to be carried out restore the people’s faith in the administration. He alleged that the crime branch was only interested to hear one viewpoint and was also implicating youths in false cases. He thus alleged that these developments were part of a bigger communal game.
The villagers allege that the police and the administration are working under political pressure. As per them, a class XI student was called for questioning twice, besides that, an elderly father and his son were allegedly pressurised to record their statements based on directives by the crime branch.
A class XII girl too alleged that she and others were being harassed on a daily basis, due to which their studies were badly affected. Incidentally, this comes at a time when X and XII standard board exams have already begun. She alleged that CM Mehbooba Mufti was politicising the matter for vote bank politics.
Besides this, it has also been alleged that the villagers were even receiving threats from unscrupulous elements.
In light of this development, the BJP’s state establishment has demanded a CBI probe in this matter. As per BJP’s state general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul, locals had raised doubts over the crime branch’s investigation, hence the government needed to order a CBI probe. The BJP though is also one of the parties blamed for the plight of the villagers.
The police, on the other hand, has played down this matter, with Alok Puri the Additional DGP Crime Branch stating that calling people for questioning is a part of the investigation. He claimed that only three people were arrested and no others were detained.