The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday said that a case of alleged kidnapping and murder of a nomadic girl in Kathua will be transferred to the crime branch. A Special Investigation Team was been set up to investigate claims that unidentified people had allegedly tortured and killed an eight-year-old girl belonging to the Bakarwal tribe.

The police said they are awaiting medical reports before they add rape charges to the case. The child’s father alleged that his daughter was raped and killed. “There were bite marks on her face and shoulders,” he said. “The bones in her body were broken.”

The police are also cracking down on people who are allegedly spreading rumours about the crime on social media. The news about the child’s murder triggered outrage in Jammu province, where Muslims, especially the nomadic Gujjars and Bakarwals, have been feeling threatened in the face of growing hostility from Hindutva groups and government indifference.

On January 18, the Opposition National Conference and the Congress walked out of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in protest against the incident. On January 19, protests were held in several places across the Jammu region, accompanied by warnings of an agitation if the government did not arrest the culprits soon.