#Kathua: Rahul Gandhi leads midnight candlelight march over rape cases, says protest not political


Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a “silent march” in Delhi on Thursday night to protest the gang rape and murder of a minor Kathua girl and a teenager’s allegation of rape against a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, reported Hindustan Times.

“Women in India are scared to step out of their homes. The government should ensure that the women of India feel safe. This is a national issue and not a political one,” said Gandhi as Congress leaders and workers marched towards India Gate before police dispersed them.

“Join me in a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice,” he said in a tweet before the protest. His tweets made no mention of the BJP, but Congress leaders accused the Narendra Modi government of shielding rapists.

“Conscience of India is outraged by the BJP’s protection of rapists. The government’s slogan of “Beti Bachao (save the girl child) ” has turned into “betion ko BJP se bachaon,” said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.

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“The government is sleeping and so at this time, Congress will have to wake them up. The PM had given a slogan ‘beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ and it’s in his regime that our girls are being raped. He isn’t taking action against his ministers who are trying to save the rape accused,” said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

People gathered near India Gate in New Delhi for a candlelight vigil to protest the rapes of minors – the Kathua case of an eight-year-old who was also murdered and the Unnao case of a teenager.

The Congress was protesting the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua district. The child was held captive inside a temple, tortured and killed allegedly because the accused wanted to scare away the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community. Thousands of members of a radical Hindu group with links to the ruling party have marched to demand the release of the seven men accused in the case.

On January 17, the body of a minor girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar. The girl had been missing for a week. According to police, she had been abducted and raped by an SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was a part of the team sent out to find her when she was missing.

Nine accused, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram – an ex-bureaucrat – and his son Vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police, have been arrested in the case.

The protesting bar members demanded that the case is transferred from Kathua.

Reports said that the bar members assembled at main Budgam Chowk and condemned the action of Kathua lawyers who prevented Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police from filing the charge sheet.


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