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‘CM firm, will ensure justice for victim’

As call for justice for eight-year-old child Asifa, Mehbooba Mufti-led government has resolved to ensure “strict punishment” for the accused involved in the horrifying crime that shook the entire state.

“It has been the resolve of the government from day one that there will be no compromise in the delivery of justice and those found involved will face the full force of law.

The state Assembly was in the midst of budget session when reports about the crime surfaced in second week of January. After facing initial criticism for mishandling the case, government finally handed it over to J&K police’s Crime Branch.  Mehbooba assured expeditious investigation and punishment to the guilty.

A senior minister said despite the mounting pressure from within the government and from Jammu for transferring the case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Chief Minister, who heads the police department, stood her ground.

At the same time, the minister said the free hand was given to the crime branch to carry out the investigation in a time bound manner, at a time when atmosphere was being polarized in Jammu against the probe and “a section of people were being provoked that the police was going after a particular community”.

“The government’s full backing to the investigation allowed the crime branch to work professionally.  ,” said the minister. “This culminated in the filing of the charge-sheet against all the accused involved in the crime”.

The minister quoted the Chief Minister repeatedly telling senior party ministers and leaders during past three months that she won’t hesitate to give up the chair if her government can’t ensure justice to the victim.

“I’m a woman and a mother too and have two daughters. If I can’t ensure justice in the case then there is no purpose of continuing as the Chief Minister,” the minister quoted Mehbooba as saying.

The charge-sheet that was filed by the Crime Branch a few days ago revealed spine-chilling details about how the victim was held captive, sedated and raped for a week before being bludgeoned to death in Kathua district’s Rassana village. Her brutalized body was recovered on January 17 after she had gone missing on January 10.

“The law will not be obstructed by irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people. Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on the fast track and justice will be delivered #JusticeForAsifa,” Mehbooba tweeted yesterday.

On the other hand the chief minister had expressed her anger against two BJP minister, Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga for attending a rally organized in support of the accused in Kathua on March. An anguished Mehbooba had reputedly refused to give them audience over their demand for transfer of the case to the CBI.

“She (Mehbooba) made her stand clear to the group of BJP minister who met her in Jammu. The BJP minister had raised this demand (for transfer of the case to the CBI) also but she reiterated that there will be no compromise

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