Kathua rape hits J&K politics, two BJP Ministers quit

Seeking justice: Kashmiris take part in a protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Srinagar on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Two BJP Ministers, who addressed the Hindu Ekta Manch rally after the rape and murder of a minor in Kathua, submitted their resignations to the party on Friday.

“The two leaders have submitted their resignations. The final call on them will be taken at the meeting of the BJP legislators on Saturday,” BJP spokesman Ashok Kaul told The Hindu.

‘No admission of guilt’

Mr. Kaul denied that the resignations indicated any wrongdoing. “They have not done anything wrong. They are resigning because a situation has been created around them,” he said.

Ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chandar Prakash Ganga had addressed the rally of the Hindu Ekta Manch, a group campaigning for handing over the case to the CBI, on March 4 and defended those arrested in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl.

The development assumes significance in the wake of public annoyance expressed by the BJP’s coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties in J&K, including National Conference (NC). Senior PDP Minister Naeem Akhtar has said “the party’s rank and file was finding it difficult to work in an atmosphere where such crass communalism is being practised by the Ministers,” while referring to the two BJP leaders.


J&K government sources said Ms. Mufti had raised the issue with the BJP top brass and demanded the removal of the Ministers or “decide to go one way or the other.” Government sources said Ms. Mufti had also spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and sought his intervention.

In a major climbdown, senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh expressed satisfaction over the investigation of the Crime Branch in the rape and murder case.

“We had entered into the alliance by taking a bold and courageous step. We had come together to solve the Kashmir issue and relieve the State of its pain. As it’s looking now we are far from that,” Mr. Akhtar, who is also the J&K government spokesman, told The Hindu.

Mr. Akhtar said the meeting on Saturday is being held in the backdrop of the Kathua case and the Kulgam incident, where four civilians died. “An assessment of the political and law and order situation will be done. We have to take a call on our political ideology and the mission. We have to take stock of the three years and see if we have actually realised any of the goals,” said the State Public Works Minister.

Another senior PDP leader Nizamudin Bhat said “hawkish elements in the BJP are dealing a serious blow to the PDP’s expectations on Kashmir.” Endorsing PDP leader Tassaduq Mufti’s remarks on PDP-BJP “being partners in crime”, Mr. Bhat said he represented the sentiment of the rank and file.

The Deputy Chief Minister expressed satisfaction over the investigation of the Crime Branch in the rape and murder case.

The BJP leader accused the Congress and the J&K National Panthers Party of “communalising the case.”

“No sane person will support such a criminal act. The two Ministers had informed the party that they had gone there only to defuse tension and assure everyone the culprits will be punished,” said Mr. Nirmal Singh.

Meanwhile, National Conference working president Omar Abdullah sought action against the Jammu Bar Association president B.S. Salthaia for threatening the lawyer of the victim family.

National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah chaired a meeting of the party’s core group in Srinagar and threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement against the State government if it failed to act against the Ministers.

Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav is also arriving in Jammu to attend the BJP legislators’ meeting on Saturday.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 3:49:23 AM |

Next Story