Linking the apprehension of eight people by the Crime Branch in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl with the honour and dignity of Dogras, BJP MLA from Basohli and former Forest Minister Choudhary Lal Singh on Sunday threw a challenge to politicians in Jammu to take care of the aspirations of the people.
Singh, who led a 25,000-strong march over nearly 35 km from Lakhanpur to Kootah morh in Hiranagar area of Kathua district, asked the state government to mend its ways. “This is only a trailer,” he said, referring to the march, “If they do not mend themselves, then our next step will be an entire Jammu bandh.”
“We will soon call a meeting of prominent people of Jammu and thereafter, we will give them a design,” he said. “If someone in your Assembly constituency does not support you or go with you in your struggle, then it will have to be planned what shall be done with them,’’ he said in an apparent reference to sitting legislators.
Targeting ruling and opposition politicians from Kashmir, he said, “Whenever four Kashmiris gather, they start making a hullabaloo, pelting stones and killing pilgrims. If you are leaders of Kashmir, can you hold rallies there like us here? I have held 290 rallies in Jammu.” Referring to his public mobilisation to press for the demand for a CBI inquiry into the Kathua rape and murder, he said, “Can you do it in Kashmir?’’
Singh changed the name of Hindu Ekta Manch to Dogra Ekta Manch and asked all villages in Hiranagar subdivision to prepare lists of 50 people who would sit on 24-hour dharna at Kootah morh in rotation. “We did not protest when they discriminated against us in selection to government jobs, or many other issues,’’ Singh said. “However, we cannot tolerate it if anybody calls Dogras rapists and criminals.” “We have a history. People of Jammu have a history,’’ he said. “Their history is being written in black ink. They kill pilgrims and then shed crocodile tears.”
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