The advocate for the main accused in the Kathua case claimed on Wednesday that Jammu and Kashmir’s Mehbooba Mufti is a “jihadi chief minister”, The Indian Express reported. Ankur Sharma represents Sanji Ram, his son Vishal Jangotra, and police official Deepak Khajuria. They are three of eight people accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January.

Sharma said he was associated with the Hindu Ekta Manch, the outfit which organised a rally in support of the accused, and said he favoured their demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the case. “There is something Islamic about Mehbooba Mufti, there is something Islamic about the identity of the victim,” he said. “There is nothing Hindu about the Hindu Ekta Manch.”

“Mehbooba Mufti is a jihadi…She gives legal immunity to cow slaughter and bovine smuggling,” Sharma told The Indian Express. “She refers to Gujjars and Bakerwals, who are Muslims, as tribals, and says they will not be charged with disobedience to order. She is spearheading an Islamo-fascist communal agenda wherein demographic change is a reality, where people of one religion are occupying land in Jammu province, which is a Hindu-dominated area.”

“Everybody knows that state land, forest land have been encroached upon only by the Bakerwal community,” Sharma said, claiming that Mufti’s order that tribals living on forest land not be “dislocated” till the government forms a tribal policy was advantageous to that community. “They are coming from outside and capturing land.”

“They can live in peace and harmony but we will not allow demographic change to happen,” Sharma said. “But they are being slowly poisoned against the Hindus of Jammu.”

The advocate claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had “abandoned their political constituency” due to geopolitical reasons. He also admitted to making a speech at a Hindu Ekta Manch rally in March, where he called upon villages to boycott the Bakerwal and Gujjar communities and to not sell them land.