BJP demands sacking of Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief for remark on Kathua probe
In a video, Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir is purportedly telling reporters that the locals believed the investigation was motivated and that the main culprits were still at large.Updated: Apr 15, 2018 18:25 IST
The BJP on Sunday demanded the sacking of Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, claiming that he was seen in a video terming the police probe in the Kathua rape-and-murder case motivated and defending the public protests against it.
Citing the BJP’s decision to remove two of its Jammu and Kashmir ministers, who had joined the public protests against the probe, Union minister Prakash Javadekar wondered if Congress president Rahul Gandhi would only point fingers at others but maintain silence on the comments of his party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief.
In the video, which was played during a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Mir is purportedly telling reporters that the locals believed the investigation was motivated and that the main culprits were still at large.
Questions would be raised and there must be some justification in the people’s demand, Mir said, wondering if the probe was aimed at making some political points.
“When our ministers expressed these sentiments, the Congress, the media made a lot of noise. We took action. They resigned. Now we want to ask Rahul Gandhi, who took out a candlelight march (protesting the growing incidents of crime against women in the country), why is he not taking action against his party’s state president,” Javadekar said.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently verified by PTI.
The BJP had faced flak after its leaders in the Jammu region, including two ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government, joined the public protests against the police probe into the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakarwal Muslim community that had led to the arrest of eight persons.
The two ministers -- Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga -- resigned on Friday, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said these incidents, including a rape case in which a BJP MLA from Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh is the accused, had shamed the country and that justice would be ensured in all the cases.
Javadekar also demanded an apology from senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, noting that Bar Association of Jammu president B S Slahia, who had led the public protests against the police probe, was his poll agent in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The BJP leader also questioned Gandhi’s candlelight march at India Gate on Friday night, saying he never protested against the “Nirbhaya” incident, atrocities against Dalits in Mirchpur in Haryana and many other incidents of rape that had happened during the Congress rule.
“People can see what kind of politics you (Gandhi) are doing. Why are you silent? You should immediately sack him (Mir),” Javadekar said.
The HRD minister rued that there had been no gender sensitisation for men in the country for generations, claiming it to be a reason behind the heinous crimes against women, and said, “No amount of condemnation is enough for such incidents.”
Reacting to Congress leader Dinesh Gundurao’s comment that Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath should be beaten with slippers, Javadekar said the BJP condemned such remarks and claimed that the opposition party was making provocative statements and trying to incite violence as it was afraid of losing the May 12 Karnakata Assembly polls.
Congress dismisses demand
The Congress dismissed the BJP’s demand as “motivated”, saying it was because of his demand that the inquiry into the matter had seen some progress initially.
The Congress also termed as “misleading” the BJP’s talk of its two state ministers resigning from their posts for taking part in a protest march supporting those accused of raping and killing the eight-year-old girl.
The opposition party claimed that it was because of the pressure exerted by the people and the protest march led by party chief Rahul Gandhi that saw the ruling BJP take the action against its ministers.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said the party did not defend its Karnataka leader Dinesh Gundurao’s remark on Yogi Adityanath. Khera said Gundurao was a father of two and like everybody else he was “deeply disturbed by what is happening to daughters in the country”.
“Mir sahab has clearly said that the video they are talking about is one or one-and-half months old. Because of Mir sahab’s demand that there was some progress, action in the case,” Khera told reporters here.
“So, the talk of sacking (by the BJP) someone is misleading. Today, in fact, they (the BJP) should have kept quite. Today people are asking them questions, who are they (the BJP) to ask questions,” he asked.
Hitting back at the BJP over the rape incidents, Khera accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of providing merely a “lip service” and of taking time to respond to them.
Khera claimed that the two Jammu and Kashmir ministers, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, had to resign due to pressure.
“You removed two ministers, that too in the wake of pressure… But why Ajay Singh Bisht, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, was not removed?” he asked.