Kathua rape and murder case worsens strain in BJP-PDP ties as Ram Madhav arrives in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had raised the issue of the two BJP ministers “obstructing the process of justice” in the Kathua case last week with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who “assured” her that heads will roll. The BJP's architect of alliance with the PDP, Ram Madhav, has arrived in the state on Saturday to follow up on the prime minister’s commitment even as the two tainted ministers have resigned.

“She (Mufti) told the PM that Lal Singh and CP Ganga were creating hurdles in the process of delivering justice to the girl but he assured her that action will be taken within few days. The ministers accused the J&K Police of carrying out a biased investigation which vitiated the atmosphere in Jammu and emboldened the people to hit the streets,” a senior PDP leader told Firstpost.

According to PDP sources, the chief minister had taken a strong exception to the BJP ministers pointing fingers at the crime branch probe into the case which could have also demoralised the forces. “When they (police) fight and lay down their lives in encounters with militants, at that time, they are not biased. How dare they raise fingers at the police force now and accuse it of being prejudiced? Just because the investigation didn’t suit their communal agenda,” a senior PDP leader said.

 Kathua rape and murder case worsens strain in BJP-PDP ties as Ram Madhav arrives in Jammu and Kashmir

File image of BJP general secretary Ram Madhav. News18

The BJP legislators are meeting in the afternoon where all the party leaders, including MLAs and MLC, are likely to be present. The meeting is likely to be presided by Madhav.

Madhav, sources said, was told in no uncertain terms by the prime minister that the party has to act against the tainted ministers who had proffered support to the agitation demanding a CBI probe into the case and release of the accused. “He called up Ganga and Lal Singh some two days ago and categorically told them to put in their papers,” BJP sources said.

Madhav, who stitched the alliance along with the PDP's Haseeb Drabu, has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir today and he will choose fresh faces from the BJP for the cabinet after the unceremonious exit of Ganga and Lal Singh. “There may be a change of portfolio of one minister who has also been playing the communal card to keep the Jammu region on boil over the arrest of culprits in Kathua case,” sources said. BJP has nine ministers in the coalition government.

In its 18-page chargesheet, the crime branch has unearthed a brazenly communal conspiracy by a former revenue officer Sanji Ram with the help of his son, nephew and police officers to make an example out of the eight-year-old nomadic girl's rape and murder which, according to the chargesheet, was meant to terrorise the Muslims community in Rasana and compel them to abandon their homes.

“Madhavji will speak with our leaders and legislators and perhaps he may also have some message from the party high command for us. The Kathua case tested the durability of the alliance but we have come out even stronger,” a senior BJP leader, who is also a minister in the Jammu and Kashmir government, told Firstpost.

BJP spokesman Ashok Kaul told Firstpost that the meeting would take place at the saffron party's office and all the leaders would attend the meeting, including the two leaders who have sent in their resignations.

“We will discuss the agenda of meeting after the meeting,” Kaul said.

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Updated Date: Apr 14, 2018 13:18:41 IST