New Delhi: Speaking up on the cases of rape and murder of a child in Jammu & Kashmir and the rape of a minor in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13 April promised justice in the cases that have outraged the nation. Modi said the incidents that have caused outrage have shamed the country.
“The incidents that are in discussion in the country for the past two days do not reflect well on any civilised country. This is shameful,” Modi said after opposition parties, personalities from the film industry and civil society reacted angrily to the incidents in the Harinagar village of Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir and Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi’s comments at a function in the capital followed the CBI’s questioning and arrest of rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Uttar Pradesh.
Two BJP ministers have resigned the posts they held in the Jammu & Kashmir PDP-BJP coalition government for participating in a rally of lawyers, which a large section of the media reported as a rally in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.
“It’s an insult to freedom fighters who gave their lives for the independence of this country. We are all ashamed as a society, as a country,” Modi said, speaking at the inauguration of the Ambedkar National Memorial here.
“Such incidents in any part of the country or a state shake humanity. I want to assure the country that no culprit will escape. Justice will be done and it will be complete justice. The daughters will get justice. We all will have to join hands and remove this evil from the society.”
In January, an eight-year-old girl went missing while grazing horses in Rassana forest in Kathua. A week later, her brutalised body was recovered. The Jammu & Kashmir Crime Branch says she was held captive in a temple and was sedated before being repeatedly raped and murdered.
The lawyers who have been agitating for justice in the case and also demanding the deportation of Rohingya infiltrators say the case made by the Crime Branch is totally fabricated while they are being vilified by the media.
Two BJP ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who attended a rally in support of the Kathua accused last month, resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Singh, who held the Environment and Forest portfolio and Ganga, the Industries and Commerce Minister, submitted their resignations to state BJP chief Satpal Sharma.
They had sparked overwhelming public outcry after attending a rally in Hiranagar area of Kathua district organised by the Hindu Ekta Munch in favour of the seven people accused in the rape and murder of the minor.
In New Delhi, the BJP appeared to be on the backfoot, with its MP and spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi admitting that the two BJP ministers in Jammu & Kashmir had committed a wrong by taking part in the rally.
She, however, said they were “misled and misguided” by people and accused the Congress of ‘communalising’ the rape incidents.
“When you are in public life, people come to you with their version… So, the lesson to them is not to believe one side or the other and let the law take its course,” the MP said.
In Unnao, a 17-year-old was raped last year allegedly by BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, who was named in a CBI FIR and questioned on Friday. The incident came to light after the victim tried to set herself ablaze outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence on Sunday.
The family has alleged that the police refused to file an FIR. The victim’s father died after being allegedly beaten by the MLA’s brother and aides at a police station.
The CBI filed three FIRs late on Thursday over the rape and the victim’s father’s death in police custody. Phone call details of the accused legislator have also been sought.
In the first FIR, the CBI named Sengar and Shashi Singh, a woman who allegedly took the rape victim to the Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s house. The second FIR is against four of Sengar’s accomplices — Vineet, Baua, Shailu and Sonu — on charges of rioting, criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt. The third one relates to Sengar’s brother Atul Singh, who claimed that he was attacked by the victim’s father. Atul Singh is currently in judicial custody.