Kathua: The shocking revelations of how an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu region was raped, sedated, and ‘raped one last time’ have ignited a national outrage.
But even as man on the street and celebs expressed disgust, the only voice to emanate from within the government was that of External Affairs Minister VK Singh. He tweeted: “We have failed” the eight-year-old girl “as humans but she will not be denied justice”.
But the voice of sanity was negated by a BJP leader in faraway Madhya Pradesh who has floated a bizarre conspiracy theory. According to state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, Pakistan has engineered the whole episode. “They even chanted slogans of Jai Shri Ram to divide India,” said the 65-year-old, who also represents Khandwa in the Lok Sabha. Ironically, the voices of condemnation have come out of the woodwork three months after the girl was kidnapped while she was grazing sheep near her home on January 10. She was allegedly kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days by a group that included police officers. The most chilling is the detail that just before her head was battered, one of the police officers asked the killer to wait so he could rape the child one more time.
More important, the girl belonged to the nomadic Bakherwal community and the abduction and the killing was possibly part of a carefully planned strategy to oust the minority community from the area, the 15-page chargesheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police says.
The media outcry brought politicians out of a deep slumber with Congress President Rahul Gandhi also taking to twitter to express belated dismay over the communalisation of the case. “What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child? “How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil?” he wrote.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is under fire for not acting against BJP ministers who took to the streets in defence of the accused, said the “law will not be obstructed”.
The reference was to Chaudhary Lal Singh, minister for forest, and Chander Prakash Ganga, minister for commerce and industries, who had attended an event organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch and protested against the arrests in the case. Both the ministers had also addressed the rally and called the police action against the rape accused as ‘jungle raj’. While addressing protesters, Ganga said, “I don’t understand this investigation. Why they have arrested a 14-year-old, a 22-year-old, a 28-year-old and a 37-year-old. How is this possible?”
Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, predictably, lashed out at the chief minister for not taking any action against her two BJP ministers. “What rubbish! They are HER ministers, not the Honourable PM’s. If she wants to express her displeasure, she should sack them in Jammu not come and voice her alleged displeasure in Delhi,” Omar wrote on his Twitter handle.
One of the hair strands recovered from the Devisthan has matched with the DNA profile of victim, confirming that she was kept in captivity at Devisthan. More than politicians, celebs and sportspersons took to Twitter demanding justice for the minor. Sonam wrote, “Ashamed appalled and disgusted by fake nationals and fake Hindus. I cannot believe this is happening in my country.” Tennis player Sania Mirza tweeted, “If we can’t stand up now for this 8-year-old girl regardless of our gender, caste, colour or religion then we don’t stand for anything in this world… not even humanity… makes me sick to the stomach.”
Writer-director-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted, “Imagine what went through the mind of an 8-year-old when she was drugged, held captive, gang-raped over days and then murdered. If you don’t feel her terror, you are not human.” The Congress party, keen to latch onto any simmering issue, trained guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for staying silent on the Kathua rape. “No time for ‘upavas’ dear PM. Speak up: the very soul of womanhood violated at Kathua and Unnao. Was ‘Beti Bachao’ yet another slogan?” Kapil Sibal tweeted.