SRINAGAR: A senior BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday claimed that there was a "Pakistani hand" behind the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP state president Nandkumar Singh Chouhan said: "The act (Kathua rape-murder) must have been committed by Pakistan's agents to divide people by chanting Jai Sri Ram". The BJP leader made the remark during the nation-wide fast that was held against the washout of Parliament's budget session.
Justifying his stand, Chouhan said that Hindus in Kashmir are in a minority and hence cannot be shouting those slogans. "If slogans of Jai Shri Ram were shouted on the rape of the girl, it must be the handiwork of Pakistan's agents who want to create differences between us. Hindus are less than one per cent in Kashmir. They cannot even open their mouths, then how can they shout these slogans?" he asked.
The BJP leader, however, termed the incident as a "blot on humanity".
Meanwhile, amid protests over the brutal incident of the gangrape, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced that the state government will bring a new law to make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors. Condemning the incident of rape and murder of eight-year-old in Kathua district, the Chief Minister tweeted that she will not let another child suffer in this way. Mehbooba also said that she stands committed to ensuring justice in the Kathua case.
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by six men who had held her in captivity in a small temple village for a week in January. She was allegedly drugged so that she could be sexually assaulted again before being bludgeoned to death, according to police.
The incident has led to countrywide protests seeking strict action against the culprits. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had also held a midnight protest on Thursday night at India Gate in Delhi asking the Centre and state governments to ensure the safety of women in the country.
(With PTI inputs)