SrinagarStating that government of India was keeping a close watch on crime branch probe into rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua in January this year closely, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Saturday described the Peoples Democratic Partys decision to remove Dr Haseeb Drabu from the Cabinet as an internal matter of the party.
Madhav concluded his two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir by striking a reconciliatory note with the partys coalition partner, PDP and asking State BJP leaders to scale down demands on several controversial issues.
Madhav and Drabu were the architects of the Agenda of Alliance between the two parties in 2015.
Madhav, who met BJP legislators and Ministers, called on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu on Friday evening in a bid to resolve differences between the two parties.
BJP sources said the local party leadership apprised Mr. Madhav of issues such as the tribal policy, the Kathua rape-cum-murder case, the agitation of border residents in the Pir Panchal Valley and district status for Nowshera. Mr. Madhav, sources said, ruled out any rift within the coalition partners, as he flew back to New Delhi on Saturday.
Indicating support to Mehbooba Muftis decision to hold a Crime Branch inquiry into the Kathua rape case, Madhav assured the BJP leaders who wanted a CBI investigation that the Centre was watching the case closely.
Asifa Bano had been missing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests , and her body was found on January 17.
The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that an SIT under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case and a medical report of the murdered girl was expected within a couple of days.
On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch.
He asked the BJP to keep their support in their respective constituencies intact by focussing on development works and implementation of Centrally sponsored schemes. He warned against raking up controversies with the PDP, but wanted the BJP Ministers to assert themselves in the Cabinet on critical issues.
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