The opposition National Conference (NC) took out a protest march here today against "attempts being made to shield" the accused in the Kathua rape-and-murder case of an 8-year-old girl. NC leaders and workers, led by party general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, assembled at the party headquarters Nawa-e-Subha here and marched to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's residence at Gupkar, a party spokesman said. He said the march was taken out to protest the "brazen and shocking attempts that have been made to shield" the accused individuals in the heinous and barbaric Kathua rape-and-murder case and to seek answers about the "mishandling of the case under apparent political pressure from some quarters". Speaking on the occasion, Sagar said the government had shown "shocking and shameful insensitivity towards the heinous tragedy" in Kathua and it was "a blot of shame that two cabinet ministers participated in a rally that aimed to shield the culprits by mounting political pressure on the investigation". "It was shameful that the state government and the district administration couldn't even facilitate her burial in her own village as goons attacked the family forcing them to bury her in a neighbouring village. "Following this tragedy, the revelation that evidence was destroyed clearly indicates towards a deep-rooted conspiracy being hatched at the highest quarters to save the culprits and the participation of two cabinet ministers in the Hindu Ekta Manch event raises a lot of questions in this context," the NC general secretary said. He also lashed out at the state government and the chief minister for an "abject failure" to take the Shopian FIR to any conclusion and said the state government had been ridiculed by the central government which had filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the FIR filed by the J&K government.