Over 200 men, women and children blocked the road in front of the Hiranagar Police station in Kathua district as a protest against the PDP-BJP government alleging harassment and mass detentions by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch which is probing the killing of an eight-year-old girl.
A senior crime branch official denied that there was any harassment caused to the villagers. The villagers, however, alleged torture and harassment of their children by the crime branch and demanded a CBI probe in the case, reports PTI.
They also demanded the release of scores of villagers including women and sarpanches detained by the Police. Police personnel warned them through load speakers that restriction under section 144 of the CrPc were in place in Hiranagar.
On Tuesday, residents of village Rasana had alleged detention, torture and harassment of their children by the crime branch and left their homes. Villagers, including women and young children, were living under “constant fear” due to “random detention of young children” in the name of questioning and refused to return to their native village, they alleged.
Hundreds of people of adjoining villages joined them to express solidarity. Vijay Sharma, president of an organisation called the Hindu Ekta claimed the villagers did not have faith in the crime branch. He said that the families of Rasana village and many families from the adjoining Dhamyal village had migrated to Kootah on the Jammu-Pathankot highway as they have been living in constant fear.
Sharma said that they want in-depth investigation to punish the culrpits involve in the case but harassment and torture and repeated detention cannot be tolerated. The body of the minor girl from the Bakerwal community was found from a forest area in Rasana village on January 17 after she went missing for a few days.
J&K government ordered a crime branch probe and three persons, including two Special Police Officers and a juvenile, have been arrested so far. Alok Puri, Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch, said it was a part of investigation to call people for questioning and denied any harassment. “Crime Branch has so far arrested only three persons and no other person has been detained”, he said.
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