Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday accepted the resignations of two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers—Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who had participated in a rally in support of the people arrested in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua, officials with knowledge of the matter said.

The resignations of Singh and Ganga were received from BJP state chief Sat Sharma earlier in the day which were immediately accepted and forwarded to governor N.N. Vohra for completing the procedural formalities, the officials said.

With these resignations, the number of ministers in the state government has come down to 22, including nine from the BJP. There are three vacancies in the council of ministers as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had last month removed its finance minister Haseeb Drabu unceremoniously, the officials mentioned above said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who had held consultations with legislators of the party in Jammu on Saturday, had announced the resignations would be forwarded for further action thereby ending a simmering political crisis in the state.

The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police had arrested the nephew of a caretaker of a temple in connection with the kidnapping and rape of the girl,following which the two ministers participated in a rally in support of the accused. Both the ministers had earlier said that they had been sent by the party to Kathua to understand the ground situation.

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