Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday tendered an unconditional apology for revealing the names of rape victims while replying to a question in the Legislative Council.

“I tender an unconditional apology. There is a deep sense of shame over revealing the names of the victims,” Mr. Abdullah said in the Assembly. “I will look into the matter to find out under what circumstances the names have been revealed and will get back to the House,” he said.

Assuring members that such incidents would not be repeated, the Chief Minister admitted that it was a violation of the Supreme Court ruling.

His reply came in response to People's Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti's charge that the government had caused stigma to the victims by revealing their identities. She said it was in contravention of Section 228 (A) of the Indian Penal Code and the Supreme Court ruling.

On Thursday, Ms. Mufti expressed her resentment over the issue. CPI(M) MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also supported Ms. Mufti on the issue. “This is secondary victimisation of women,” he said.

To a question by MLC Subash Chander Gupta, the government, on Wednesday, made the names of rape victims public. The list was issued by the Home Ministry headed by Mr. Abdullah himself. CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat had expressed concern over revealing of the names. “This is unacceptable and the government should be at least sensitive on such issues. How can the officers be so casual about such matters?”

In his statement, Mr. Tarigami had asked the government to apologise to all the rape victims. “It is not only dissolute and unethical but it means the government has ruined their leftover dignity and honour in society. Simply, the government has ruined their lives.”

According to the government, Jammu and Srinagar account for the highest number of rape cases in the State. Jammu had registered 150 cases since 2006 and Srinagar 120 during the same period. A total of 1,326 rape cases have been registered in the State since 2006. However, only one person had been convicted during the last five years, the government reply said.