Srinagar, Apr 13 (PTI) Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah today demanded Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sack her two cabinet colleagues who allegedly tried to defend the accused in the Kathua rape-and-murder case.

He said the BJP ministers who took part in a rally in support of the accused have no right to be in the cabinet.

“Mehbooba Mufti will have to decide whether she is ready to work with those ministers who are trying to save the killers of the girl,” the former chief minister told reporters here.

Earlier, the state’s Minister for Forest Chaudhary Lal Singh and Minister for Commerce and Industries Chander Prakash Ganga, both from the BJP, attended the event organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in favour of the accused.

“The ministers who took part in the rally in support of victim’s killers, the ministers who said police should not make any arrests in this case, the ministers who pointed fingers against own police force, the ministers who said there is jungle raj in the state, they have no right to stay in the cabinet,” he said.

Abdullah said Mehbooba will have to show the same courage in taking action against the BJP ministers as she did when she sacked senior PDP leader and the then finance minister Haseeb Drabu.

“Mehbooba Mufti took action against Haseeb Drabu. I don’t think his crime was so big as that of these BJP ministers. If Mehbooba says she showed courage in acting against Drabu, she needs to show same courage again in taking action against these ministers as well,” he said.

Omar said the assertion by a PDP spokesman that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take action against BJP ministers in the state was just an excuse.

“This is just an excuse that the prime minister will take action. The prime minister does not take decision on J&K ministers. The chief minister decides who will be the ministers in the state cabinet,” he added.

The eight-year-old girl, who was from the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, disappeared near her house in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.

A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.