As outrage mounts over the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakherwal Muslim girl in Kathua and the defence of the accused by some Jammu politicians and lawyers, the BJP, which is part of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, has remained silent on the matter.
Barring Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, BJP leaders and its ministers at the Centre have not commented on the case. On Twitter Thursday, V K Singh said: “With what happened to the eight-year-old girl in Kathua, it seems being a human is an insult, and animals are better… The criminals should be punished so severely that we can make an example of them for generations.”
Singh’s tweet got 1,200 retweets and 2,000 likes as of 9 pm Thursday while a hashtag seeking justice for the victim reached over 8,000 tweets per hour by 7.30 pm and continued to trend through the night, according to Hashtags.org. The Twitter Moments India profile highlighted the case too.
Asked about the issue, BJP New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi said: “The guilty should be punished for this crime (Kathua). But let the investigators find who is guilty. If the state police cannot, let it be handled by the CBI.” She said the “over publicisation” of an “incident in one corner of the country” was an attempt to divert attention from the Opposition parties’ “disruptive politics”.
Two Union Ministers — Maneka Gandhi and Uma Bharati — made public comments after being asked by the media. “I am against any kind of violence against women and children. Will ensure that justice is done,” said Maneka Gandhi while observing a country-wide BJP fast.
Bharati wanted the media and others to refrain from “communalising” the issue. “Allow rule of law and keep politics out,” she was quoted as saying on India TV.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who was in Singapore Thursday, told The Indian Express that his party wanted “to see that the Kathua victim gets justice.”
“In fact, the party state unit has passed a resolution and had sacked a party office bearer for spearheading the agitation (in defence of the accused),” Madhav said. “The victim should get justice, the guilty should be punished. But in the process, the innocent should not be harassed,” he said.
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BJP MP Anju Bala from Misrikh, Uttar Pradesh said that the guilty in both cases, Unnao and Kathua, should be punished. “Everyone is equal before law. The guilty should be punished even he is a BJP MLA or minister,” Bala said adding that she was “sure” that the BJP would not stall the natural process of law.
With inputs from KARISHMA MEHROTRA