Former BJP leader and founder of the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS) Choudhary Lal Singh Thursday said the demand for a CBI probe into the rape and murder of a minor girl last year would be the core issue of his party in the Lok Sabha polls.
Singh had launched the DSS on July 22 last year to mark the 100 days of his campaign in support of the demand for a CBI probe into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a nomadic community in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Body of the minor was recovered from a forest on January 17, 2018, a week after she went missing from the forest area while grazing horses.
“The demand for CBI probe will be the core issue of this election…we will continue to strive for the probe and take the agitation to its logical conclusion because the incident has put a question mark on secularism in Jammu and image of Dogras,” Singh said.
Singh was addressing a well-attended rally at Kootha Morh near the scene of the last year’s crime.
The DSS has announced Singh as its candidate from Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha constituency.
The Crime Branch of J&K Police, which investigated the case, arrested eight people, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram, in connection with the case which is presently being heard on daily basis in a court in Punjab under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
According to the charge sheet, the girl was allegedly raped in captivity in a village temple and was kept sedated for four days before being bludgeoned to death.
Singh, along with his colleague Chander Prakash Ganga, had resigned from the previous PDP-BJP government on April 13 2018, after uproar over his participation in a rally allegedly in support of the accused.
He said the CBI probe into the case was a must to give justice to the deceased girl and restore the confidence of the general public of the Jammu region.
“The need for such a probe is also important because different agencies were used to investigate this case and finally a fabricated case was presented in the court,” Singh alleged.
Seeking support of the people for his party in the forthcoming general elections, he urged them to give a befitting reply to the “Kashmiri centric politicians and their cohorts in Jammu who were responsible for maligning the image of Dogras”.
Without naming anyone but apparently referring to the BJP, Singh said the self-styled leadership of Jammu always sold the interest of Jammu for the “political consideration” and the present leadership both in Jammu and in New Delhi has broken all records.
“The agency which was sent from Srinagar Crime Branch with a clear cut mandate of making it a hate crime and tarnishing the image of Dogra community and their revered places of worship.
“I am surprised to hear that how a crime of this nature can be committed in a ‘Devesthan’ (temple) for days together? If it happens like this the need for the CBI inquiry becomes must,” he said.
While addressing to the family of Sanji Ram, the former minister said, “I will fight till my last breath to see that justice is done to the poor soul and in no circumstances any innocent should be persecuted.”
“This is the time when all Dogras will teach a lesson to all those leaders who remained mute spectator to the humiliation which we faced in the infamous case across the country,” he said.