It was the most gruesome incident when in the Kathua district of Jammu in a village temple a Muslim nomadic 8 years girl was detained, gang-raped and killed in a ghastly way. The incident was not only condemned in every nook and corner of the country, but also attracted global attention. The irony of the circumstances is that this shameful and merciless incident exposed the ugly face of the BJP when an organization Hindu Ekta Manch protested and resisted the arrest of the accused, not only BJP MLAs but even two ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga joined the crazy mob. Some lawyers were also in the mob forcing the Supreme Court to take notice and call explanation from the Jammu Bar Council. In the wake of the protest against the ministers, they tendered their resignations.
To fill up the vacancies and to induct some new faces, the reshuffle of the ministry took place on April 30. This also shows the helplessness of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti because among six BJP legislators who were inducted into the cabinet one is Rajiv Rasrotia who participated in the protest in support of the rape accused. Did the Chief Minister not review the list of the MLAs who were to be included in the cabinet or was she helpless to accept the names presented by the BJP? When two ministers were dropped or were asked to tender their resignations because of their participation in the protest, how another MLA who was among the protesters could be given the berth in the cabinet. This is not the end. It is double whammy for the Chief Minister. The BJP is an ally of the PDP headed by Mehbooba Mufti, but the former is calling shots forcing the Chief Minister to keep quiet.
The newly inducted Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta within hours of swearing-in ceremony courted controversy by calling the crime a small matter. He said Kathua incident was a minor issue and it should not have been given so much hype. Before making this irresponsible comment, the Deputy Chief Minister, should have taken into consideration the observation made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said the incident shamed the country. The question arises how the Chief Minister tolerated such irresponsible outburst. She promised to do justice to the family of the baby who was raped and killed in the most barbaric way. But her meek behaviour before the BJP has made it impossible to ensure justice to the victim. The opposition political parties – the Congress, National Conference and others should see that the BJP did not meddle with the case particularly in these days when the national intelligence agencies are preparing the prosecution case in a way that it hardly stands judicial scrutiny. At present the case is with the J and K police while the BJP has been demanding that it should be transferred to the CBI. It is heartening to note that the Supreme Court has given credence to the claim of the victim’s kin who are opposed to transfer the case to the CBI.