The Hindu Ekta Manch has appealed to the public for donations to hire lawyers on behalf of the accused to demand a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in January, The Indian Express reported. The organisation’s president told the newspaper that the appeal had not received a favourable response.

Sharma said the members of the group are now considering contacting their friends and acquaintances for financial support. “We have to mobilise enough resources so that the best legal team is mobilised to successfully plead the case before the Supreme Court,” The Indian Express quoted the group’s post on social media platforms as saying. “We appeal to everybody to come forward and donate generously so that a corpus of fund is created to meet the legal expenses.’’

On Tuesday, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former minister Lal Singh conducted a candlelight march to demand a CBI inquiry in the case. The BJP, which is a coalition partner of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party in the state, has appeared to back the demand for a CBI inquiry. Its state unit had released a video questioning the police investigation.

On May 7, the Supreme Court had transferred the trial to Punjab’s Pathankot. The top court, however, ruled out an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, based on the probe by the state police.

The case

The eight year old girl was found dead on January 17, a week after she went missing. The accused had allegedly lured her to a secluded place on the pretext of helping her find her missing horses, and then took her to a temple. The Crime Branch’s chargesheet said she had been held captive at the temple, drugged, raped repeatedly and then strangled.