The BJP charged Justice Gandhi with "match fixing" and hobnobbing with the State government

Resentful over the National Conference (NC) MLA Sajjad Kichloo’s induction into Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s Council of Ministers, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday held protest demonstrations outside the Raj Bhawan and R.C. Gandhi’s residence while calling for a “48-hour Jammu bandh” on Sunday and Monday.

A former judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Gandhi became the first target of the BJP’s ire when scores of the party activists, carrying placards and shouting slogans against “traitors of the nation”, gathered outside his residence at Patauli.

They charged Justice Gandhi with “match-fixing” and alleged that he had hobnobbed with the Abdullah government in submitting an interim report that gave a clean chit to Mr. Kichloo.

Justice Gandhi is holding an inquiry into the communal riots of August 9 that left three persons dead and scores injured in addition to arson and torching of vehicles and commercial establishments at Kishtwar, 225 km from here.

He would be reportedly submitting the final report in February 2014.

Delivery of the interim report, which prompted Mr. Abdullah to take Mr. Kichloo back as his junior Minister in charge of Home within hours on Saturday, has also been seen as “intriguing” by the Bar Association of Jammu. In protest, the lawyers’ fraternity decided to abstain work at all courts on Monday.

While arrangements were underway for Mr. Kichloo’s oath-taking, the BJP activists, led by State president Jugal Kishore Sharma, held demonstrations outside the Raj Bhawan. He said his party would take “this irresponsible and communally motivated act” to the peoples’ forum and mobilise opinion against the coalition government of the NC and the Congress. He lashed out at Justice Gandhi for his purported recommendation of constituting the Village Defence Committees (VDC) on demographic basis.

Justice Gandhi had reportedly recommended establishment of VDC comprising Muslim armed men in Muslim-dominated villages of Kishtwar and other adjoining districts in Chenab valley.