Kathua rape case: Two BJP ministers from J&K resign after PM Modi breaks his silence

The resignation of Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga follows Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Photo courtesy: PTI
Photo courtesy: PTI
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Ashutosh Sharma

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his radio silence on Kathua and Unnao rapes, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers in Jammu and Kashmir coalition government, who had earlier defended rape accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua, resigned from the state cabinet on Friday evening.

The resignation of Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga follows Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday. Mufti had reportedly cautioned both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of possible ramifications of politicisation and communalisation of the incident.

Complaining against the two ministers and local BJP leadership for fomenting troubles for the state coalition government, she had reportedly threatened to end the alliance, failing a strong action by the BJP central leadership.

Both the leaders had earlier participated in the rally held by Hindu Ekta Manch at Rasana village of Kathua district in support of the arrested accused persons. Their demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe was, however, turned down by the Chief Minister.

Earlier, PDP minister and CM’s brother, Tasaduq Mufti in an interview to a national daily, maintained that the “PDP-BJP” have turned out to be partners in crime and people no longer trust us.”

While resentment is brewing among the rank-and-file of the state BJP over “forced” resignation of two ministers, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is holding an “emergency meeting” of all its senior leaders including ministers and MLAs on Saturday.

After submitting the resignation to the state BJP president, both the ministers in a joint statement maintained that “if our visit to Rasana is the cause for tarnishing the image of our party, we would prefer to resign.”

“We have always condemned this heinous crime and demanded severest action against the perpetrators of the crime. But some people are projecting the entire issue in a different manner,” they stated, asserting that “our party is being blamed for supporting the rapists, which is totally wrong.”

Ironically, Lal Singh while addressing the Rasana rally in chaste Dogri had exclaimed: “Just one girl, so many girls and women have been killed and yet no one got to know about it.”

An eight-year-old nomad Bakerwal girl was abducted, sexually assaulted and then brutally murdered in January to scare away pastoral nomadic community from Kathua’s Rasana village, according to police. The gruesome incident has not only divided the political parties including the ruling coalition partners BJP and PDP on regional lines but also exposed growing Islamophobia against landless nomadic tribes, Gujjars and Bakerwals in the state.


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Published: 13 Apr 2018, 11:12 PM