Kathua case: 8-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered in a Jammu temple. Rahul Gandhi led a midnight protest against Modi govt’s silence over Unnao rape case and Kathua
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi led a midnight march to the India Gate here on Thursday to protest the Kathua and Unnao minor rape cases and said it’s time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to walk the talk on ‘beti bachao’ (save the girl child). “We are here against crimes being committed against women, against rapes, violence and murder and the government must act on this. This is a national issue and not a political one,” Gandhi said at the march in the heart of the national capital. On the Modi government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ initiative, Gandhi said it was the right slogan and the Prime Minister must start work on ‘Beti Bachao’. The BJP was apparently caught unawares about the protest, with Congress workers from Delhi and neighbouring areas rushing to the venue on the call of their party leader. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said they were protesting to awaken the Modi government from its “slumber”.
Here’s what happened according to Kathua gang rape and murder chargesheet: 8-year-old Asifa Bano had been missing in Rasana village since January 10. On January 17, her mutilated body was found, bearing the marks of gang rape. This week, local lawyers tried to prevent the police from filing the charge sheet, and the Jammu High Court Bar Association called for a bandh on Wednesday demanding that the investigation be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The chargesheet lists as the main conspirator the caretaker of the temple in Rasana where Asifa was allegedly held. The girl was gang-raped repeatedly inside a village temple and kept sedated for hours before being killed by six men, including one who had been “invited” to come all the way from Meerut to “satisfy his lust”, the police have told a court. The kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl of the Bakherwal community at the Rassana area of Kathua was part of a planned, chilling strategy to instill fear and drive the nomadic tribe out of the region, reveals the 15-page charge-sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the chief judicial magistrate’s court.
In the midst of the investigation, lawyers of the Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) undertook protests, demanding a CBI probe into the matter.
Meanwhile, Modi and his party members on Thursday kept a day-long fast against the washout of the second part of Parliament’s budget session due to disruptions.
Top 10 developments on Kathua gangrape, murder of 8-year-old girl, protests by Rahul Gandhi, celebrities and citizens:
1. Rahul Gandhi leads midnight protest at India Gate: Congress President Rahul Gandhi led a midnight protest by the party workers at India Gate here against the “slumber” of Narendra Modi government over the rape incidents in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao and to seek justice for the victims. The candle-light protest on Thursday midnight was called at a short notice and saw people converging at the India Gate in sizeable numbers to express their support. Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ashok Gehlot, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Sushmita Dev walked from the party headquarters at 24 Akbar Road to the India Gate along with hundreds of party workers holding candles.
Rahul Gandhi joined the protest around midnight. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra were also present, along with their daughter. He said there were repeated incidents of violence, rape and murder of women in the country.
2. What Rahul Gandhi said: He said there were repeated incidents of violence, rape and murder of women in the country. “We want the government to take action. Today, women are feeling insecure to move out of their houses. Somewhere a child, a woman is raped, killed and we want that the government should resolve this. The women of the country should feel safe,” he said. Gandhi said it was a national issue and not a political issue. “This is an issue concerning women,” he said, adding that people from all parties as well as the common man was at the India Gate. “I only want to say that the atrocities being committed against women, the government should do something about it.”
He said Modi’s slogan of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” was a correct slogan. “We are saying that Narendra Modi should begin the task of protecting women of the country,” he said.
3. Under Modi govt “Betis are under threat”: A number of student and women organisations on Thursday protested at the Parliament Street against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and questioned the silence of Modi. The protesters also alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi of keeping silent on the issue. “Two gruesome incidents of rape have shocked the nation; not just for the horrific nature of the crime, but also for the ruling party, the BJP trying to shield the accused, with its sitting ministers even going on to support bandhs and rallies against arresting of the rape accused,” All India Students Association state secretary Niraj Kumar said.