Rahul, Priyanka lead midnight march at India Gate demanding justice for Kathua rape victim

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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi and sister Priyanka along with Congress leaders had a midnight march at India Gate in the heart of Delhi to demand justice for Kathua rape victim, the 8-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, who was brutally gang-raped and killed.

“Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does. Join me in a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted amid nationwide horror over chilling details of the three-month-old crime revealed by a police charge-sheet.

Breaking his silence on the case earlier today, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil? What happened in #Kathua is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished. What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child?”

The Congress president had been called out on social media for not speaking up even as the party’s leaders in Jammu appeared to back protests in support of those arrested in little Kathua rape victim Bano’s killing.

An agitated Priyanka even chided some Congress workers who were pushing each other during the march asking them to maintain order.

Earlier today, Union Minister VK Singh also added his voice to the spiralling outrage over Asifa’s gang-rape and murder. “We have failed Kathua rape victim as humans. But she will not be denied justice,” tweeted the former army chief, the first minister in the BJP-led central government to talk about justice for the child who suffered unspeakable cruelty in her last few days.

The response of the BJP and the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir has been largely political in what has become the trigger for communal polarisation.

Kathua rape victim was kidnapped when she was grazing horses near her home on January 10, kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days by a group that included police officers. She was drugged and not given food the entire time. Just before her head was bashed in with a rock, one of the police officers asked the killer to wait so he could rape the child one more time, according to the police charge-sheet submitted in court.

Among the eight arrested men is a retired revenue department official who planned the crime to instill fear among the Bakherwal nomads – Kathua rape victim was one of them – and drive them out of the Rassana area. They were a small group of Muslim families living in a Hindu-dominated area.

The others are special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Sanji Ram’s son Vishal, who travelled all the way from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh after being invited to “satisfy his lust”, Sanji Ram’s 19-year-old nephew and his friend.

The child’s mutilated body was found in the forests on January 17. As her community demanded action, two policemen tried to help the accused by manipulating the evidence. Her family and relatives were not allowed to bury her body in what they believed was their land, by Hindu families.


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