Facing flak over Kathua, Unnao, BJP leaders assure ‘justice will be done’

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the family of the Kathua rape victim should get justice.

 New Delhi Facing flak over Kathua and Unnao rape cases, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said those found guilty should be given a stringent punishment and claimed that the police acted quickly in both the matters.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the family of the Kathua rape victim should get justice.

Singh’s remarks come amid nationwide outrage over the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The victims’ family should get justice,” the minister told reporters when asked about the case.

 

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Lekhi also claimed that these two incidents were ‘selectively’ highlighted to target the BJP and said that a similar case of rape and murder of a minor girl in Assam had happened, but it never got the prominence that the Kathua and Unnao cases have got.

The eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community disappeared near her house on January 10 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district. A week later, her body was found in the same area.

During initial investigations, the police arrested a juvenile. Later, the case was transferred to the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch.

Two special police officers and later, another five people, including a former revenue official and the alleged conspirator, who surrendered before the Special Investigation Team, were arrested.

The Crime Branch, which probed the rape and killing of the girl, had filed a main charge sheet against seven people and a separate charge sheet against the juvenile in a court in Kathua district earlier this week.

Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal incident. The bar associations have been opposing the action against the accused, alleging that the minority Dogras were being
targeted.

Lawyers took to the streets shouting slogans and trying to block the road outside the court where the charge sheets were filed.

The court has fixed the next date of hearing on April 16 when the case would be committed to sessions court for trial.

In the Unnao case, the victim has alleged she was raped by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar at his residence on June 4, 2017.

In February, the girl’s family moved the court seeking to include the MLA’s name in the rape case.

After filing of the case, the victim’s father was booked by the police under the Arms Act on April 3 this year and put in jail, where he died on April 8.

Union minister Maneka Gandhi has asked her department to work on a proposal to amend the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act to bring in the provision of death penalty for the rape of a minor below the age of 12 years.

In the present POCSO Act, there is no provision for capital punishment with the maximum sentence being life imprisonment for penetrative sexual assault as well aggravated penetrative sexual assault.

The women and children development minister has now proposed that rape of any child below the age of 12 years could lead to the death penalty, WCD officials said.

“I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the (women and child development) ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act asking for death penalty for rape of children below 12 years,” Maneka Gandhi was heard saying in a video, which was uploaded on Twitter.

Another Union minister Smriti Irani said stern action will be taken against those found guilty in the Unnao rape case and condemned what she said were efforts to ‘politicise’ such cases.

“The law and the administration will work according to the Constitution and an appeal in this regard has been made by senior persons in the BJP. There are some people who want to politicise such incidents, but as a woman, I believe and it is my request that victim-shaming should not be done,” she said, responding to reporters’ questions on the Unnao case in Amethi.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister also took a dig at Congress president and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi for taking part in a candlelight march in New Delhi on Thursday against the growing incidents of crime against women in the country.

“Those who asked for votes for Gayatri Prajapati are protesting today. People know the reality,” she said.

Irani, who started her two-day Amethi visit on Friday morning, said, “I appeal to the people to have faith in the legal process…stern action will be taken as per the provisions of the Constitution against those responsible (for the Unnao incident). The CBI is investigating the matter…our government is with the victim’s family.”

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