Jammu, Apr 13 (PTI) Gujjars today took to streets here demanding the accused in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua be given death penalty.

Protestors also raised slogans against the Bar Association of Jammu and Kashmir High Court (BAJ).

The BAJ had yesterday claimed that the probe by the state Crime Branch was done on questionable line amid threats and coercion by a team of officers from Kashmir, and demanded the case be handed over to the CBI.

Protestors led by Gujjar and Bakerwal leader Choudhary Nazakat Khatana staged demonstrations in which they alleged that two state BJP ministers had supported a CBI probe in the case during an agitation at Rassana in Kathua last month.

The ministers — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga — should be sacked by the Mehbooba Mufti government, the protestors said.

“We demand justice for the girl. We demand death penalty to the accused involved in her rape and murder case,” Khatana told reporters.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress has asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to come clean about the alleged involvement of the senior ministers in instigating trouble in Kathua over the rape and killing of the girl.

“The chief minister should clarify her stand on the involvement of two senior Ministers instigating trouble in Kathua with regard to brutal murder and rape of eight year old nomad girl,” state Congress chairman G A Mir said.

He expressed surprise over the silence maintained by Mufti on the issue, saying both the ministers should have been sacked for giving communal colour to the crime. Jammu has been tense since the incident.

The police have arrested eight people in the case, but the Bar Association has opposed the action alleging “targeting of minority Dogras”.

Some of the arrested accused belong to the Hindu Ekta Manch, a right wing group.

The body of the girl was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the state crime branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.

The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police, probing the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl, filed a main charge sheet against 7 accused on Monday and one separate charge sheet against another accused, who was earlier said to be a juvenile, at a court in Kathua district on Tuesday.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.