Jammu, Apr 11 (PTI) On a day the Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) struck work demanding a CBI probe into the Kathua rape-cum-murder case, workers of the National Conference (NC) staged a march here today, demanding exemplary punishment to those involved in the crime.

Led by former MLA Bimla Luthra, a group of mostly women activists took out the march from the party headquarters towards the civil secretariat, but were stopped by police after some distance, a party spokesperson said.

Accusing the PDP-BJP government for the “growing lawlessness” and for “failing to instill a sense of security among the people”, Luthra demanded exemplary punishment to the guilty in the rape and murder case.

The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl has polarised the normally peaceful town of Jammu, with the local Bar Association calling for a bandh against what it termed the “targeting of minority Dogras” while the state police had lodged a case against lawyers who allegedly tried to prevent it from filing a charge sheet against the accused.

Decrying the attempts of “communalising and politicising” the issue in a bid to deny justice to the victim, the NC leader took a dig at the BJP saying, “The brazen hypocrisy over the incident is perhaps their version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padao campaign.” “The insensitive dispensation has lost moral authority to rule the state, especially in the wake of attempts to trivialising the intensity of the crime that has shook conscience of the civilised people all over,” she said.

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.

The issue acquired communal colours due to association of the accused with a right-wing group.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.