Kathua Rape-And-Murder: Lal Singh Takes On Mehbooba,Calls For CBI Probe

Samba—BJP leader Lal Singh, who had resigned from the state cabinet over the Kathua rape and murder case, on Tuesday led a rally in support of CBI probe into the incident and called for the resignation of J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti for her “failure” to address the issue.

Singh and industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga had resigned on April 13 over their participation in an earlier rally in support of the accused in the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district.

The former forest minister said the chief minister had failed to understand the popular sentiment and was yet to seek a CBI probe into the brutal incident.

It is her (Mehbooba Mufti’s) biggest failure. If she has wisdom and conscience, she should resign, Singh told reporters here.

“If two ministers can sacrifice their posts in the interest of peace, those who are actually responsible for creating such an atmosphere should listen to their conscience,” he said targeting the PDP leader.

Singh also said that he would press for CBI probe into the incident.

Asked about his decision to resign from the state government, Singh blamed the media for “creating a perception”, thus forcing him to take such a step.

“We resigned because the perception created by the national media was not good. It portrayed the situation in a wrong way, which was not the case at all. It was portrayed that the entire Jammu region was siding with rapists,” he claimed.

There was no need to resign had the media not created such a perception, the BJP leader said.

“It (the perception) created problems for our prime minister and country. It was not good. So, we preferred to resign. We have not done anything wrong,” Singh added.

The brutal gang rape and murder of the girl from the nomadic Bakerwal community and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue were also written about in an editorial of the New York Times.

In the editorial titled ‘Modi’s Long Silence as Women in India Are Attacked’, the NYT editorial board said Modi tweets frequently and considers himself a “talented orator” yet he “loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party”.

GoI Has No Objection To CBI Probe: Jitendra

The government of India has no objection to the handing over of the Kathua rape and murder case to the CBI, provided the state government comes out with a reference, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday.

“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have any problem or objection to hand over the case to the CBI. If the state government comes out with a reference, we will hand over the case to the agency today itself,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He added that the court was another option through which the case could go to the CBI.

“As per my knowledge, a petition (for a CBI probe) is pending there,” he said.

The minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, however, refused to answer any further questions and left.

An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17 in the Kathua district. During investigation, the state police’s crime branch alleged she was drugged and repeatedly raped before being killed.

Eight persons, including a juvenile, were arrested in connection with the crime and their trial began on Monday in a court, where they pleaded not guilty and sought a narco analysis test.

Many people in Kathua, including the families of the accused, have been demanding a CBI probe into the incident, which was, however, rejected by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last month after two BJP ministers, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, met her and raised the demand.

Both the ministers later resigned over their participation in a rally in support of people arrested in connection with rape and murder case. On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra accepted their resignations.

Incident Matter Of Shame For India: Nobel Laurete

Condemning the Kathua rape-murder incident, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday said it was a matter of shame for the country and shouldn’t be politicised.

“Not a single day goes without reports of rape and child abuse in India. The body of an eight-year-old (Kathua rape victim) should not be dragged into the battlefield of politics. We have to wage a war against rape,” Satyarthi said at an event held to release a report “The Children Cannot Wait” that highlights pending child sexual abuse cases in the country.

Satyarthi also criticised the Union government, saying that issues pertaining to children are never brought up in Parliament.

“Parliament has never devoted even a single day to our children, never talked about their needs. I urge every politician to talk about child rights and devote at least a day to the children’s cause,” he added.

On the Centre’s plan to introduce a new stringent law for criminals convicted of raping children below the age of 12, Satyarthi said that the existing Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) is strong but lacks proper implementation.

“It is unfortunate that more than one lakh cases registered under POCSO are still pending. The government should think of setting up bodies with judiciary powers to handle these. We have to ensure laws become more victim-centric than criminal-centric,” he added.

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