New Delhi: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday demanded the sacking of Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, claiming that he was recoded in a video while describing the police probe in the Kathua rape-and-murder case motivated and defending the public protests against it.
Citing the BJP’s decision to remove two of its Jammu and Kashmir ministers, who had joined the public protests against the probe, Union minister Prakash Javadekar wondered if Congress president Rahul Gandhi would only point fingers at others but maintain silence on the comments of his party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief.
In the video, which was played during a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Mir is purportedly telling reporters that the locals believed the investigation was motivated and that the main culprits were still at large.
Questions would be raised and there must be some justification in the people’s demand, Mir said, wondering if the probe was aimed at making some political points.
“When our ministers expressed these sentiments, the Congress, the media made a lot of noise. We took action. They resigned. Now we want to ask Rahul Gandhi, who took out a candlelight march (protesting the growing incidents of crime against women in the country), why is he not taking action against his party’s state president,” Javadekar said.
Pointing fingers at others while protecting its own was the character of the Congress party, he alleged.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently verified by PTI.
The BJP had faced flak after its leaders in the Jammu region, including two ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government, joined the public protests against the police probe into the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakarwal Muslim community that had led to the arrest of eight persons.
The two ministers -- Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga -- resigned on Friday, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said these incidents, including a rape case in which a BJP MLA from Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh is the accused, had shamed the country and that justice would be ensured in all the cases.
Javadekar also demanded an apology from senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, noting that Bar Association of Jammu president B.S. Slahia, who had led the public protests against the police probe, was his poll agent in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The BJP leader also questioned Gandhi’s candlelight march at India Gate on Friday night, saying he never protested against the “Nirbhaya” incident, atrocities against Dalits in Mirchpur in Haryana and many other incidents of rape that had happened during the Congress rule.
“People can see what kind of politics you (Gandhi) are doing. Why are you silent? You should immediately sack him (Mir),” Javadekar said.
The HRD minister rued that there had been no gender sensitisation for men in the country for generations, claiming it to be a reason behind the heinous crimes against women, and said, “No amount of condemnation is enough for such incidents.”
Reacting to Congress leader Dinesh Gundurao’s comment that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should be beaten with slippers, Javadekar said the BJP condemned such remarks and claimed that the opposition party was making provocative statements and trying to incite violence as it was afraid of losing the May 12 Karnakata Assembly polls.
Javadekar and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also referred to an incident, in which some people, sporting saffron “gamcha” and wielding swords, raised provocative slogans in front of a mosque here during a Ram Navami procession.
Claiming that they were Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers, Tiwari alleged that they wanted to instigate riots and blame the BJP for the same.
The opposition parties were not in a position to take on the BJP in the elections and that is why they were trying to tarnish the image of the saffron party, Javadekar said.