Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition partner BJP on Monday expressed shock and anguish over alleged harassment of people during the investigation into the rape-and-murder of a minor girl in Kathua, and demanded a CBI or judicial probe into it. In a statement, State BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta claimed that the way investigating agencies were conducting the probe has led to a mass exodus in the area and deterioration in the law and order situation. The body of the eight-year-old girl was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses. On January 23, the government handed over the case to the State police’s crime branch which arrested a Special Police Officer (SPO) in February for his alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of the girl. Earlier, a special investigation team (SIT) had arrested a 15-year-old boy and claimed the accused had strangulated the victim after she resisted his rape attempt.Endorsing the demand of the people of Kathua for a CBI probe, the BJP spokesperson said the culprits had to be strictly dealt with and punished. He alleged that atrocities were being committed on the villagers compelling them to flee. If the law and order authorities continue to spread the reign of terror, this would result in serious repercussions, making the situation out of control, he said and appealed to the government to immediately order a CBI or judicial inquiry into the incident. The BJP leader also appealed to the general public and leaders of the area not to get swayed by emotional rhetoric of various agencies. He also warned the authorities against any sort of communal overtones in handling the situation. The BJP leader’s appeal came a day after Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh assured the people of a fair probe into the crime.