Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday finally broke his silence on the brutal gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old child in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua saying that the guilty will not be spared. He, however, refused to name the victim or the Unnao’s rape victim, who was allegedly tormented by a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh.
His speech, made in New Delhi, came amidst huge national outcry over his government’s inaction and how Hindutva supporters including those masquerading as lawyers had stopped the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch from filing the charge-sheet in the case,
Modi said, “Incidents being discussed for the last two days don’t suit a civilised society. As a country, as a society we all are ashamed of it. This is also an insult to all those who’ve sacrificed their lives for the country. Such incidents happening in any parts of India shake our conscience. I would like to assure the countrymen that those guilty of tormenting our daughters will not be spared.”
Modi has broken his silence hours after Congress President Rahul Gandhi taunted Modi for his prolonged silence on both the Kathua and Unnao incidents. Gandhi had tweeted, “What do you think about the growing violence against women and children? Why are accused rapists and murderers protected by the state?” Gandhi had also held a candlelight march with thousands of people in Delhi on Thursday night.
Though Kathua gang-rape and murder took place in January, the details only emerged earlier this week, when the Crime Branch presented the charge-sheet after a great difficulty. What also triggered the international outrage was the role played by the Kathua Bar Association and the judge. Lawyers in Kathua stopped the Crime Branch from presenting the charge-sheet in the CJM court. However, when they were finally allowed in, the judge refused to accept the charge-sheet for hours, thereby disgrace to the Indian judiciary.
Meanwhile, two BJP ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government, who defended the rape and murder accused, on Friday resigned from their posts today after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti finally insisted that their position in the government had become untenable. These two ministers are Industries Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga and Forest Minister Lal Singh. Both had addressed a rally in support of the accused by a group called the Hindu Ekta Manch in March.
The 8-year-old child in Kathua was raped inside a Hindu temple by at least seven people including the local police officer, who had requested his accomplices to let him rape the 8-year-old child for one last time before killing her.