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Kathua: Outrage mounts, Maneka Gandhi for death penalty to child rapists



Kathua: Outrage mounts, Maneka Gandhi for death penalty to child rapists

As a storm of protests erupted over the gory gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and the gangrape of another minor in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, a few voices emerged from the BJP against the crime.

So far, the party has been largely silent on the crime and the loudest voices from it have been in shocking defence of the accused in both cases.

This has evoked reactions internationally; A tweet from The New York Times said: “In India, the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl has led to protests by Hindu nationalists – coming to the defence of the accused.”

#KathuaCase was trending on Twitter, in an outrage reminiscent of the Nirbhaya protests on social media.

Hindutva outfits have been backing the accused, all Hindus, and demanding their release, claiming they were being treated unfairly.

Forensic examination, including DNA tests, confirmed the child was confined in a Devasthan and that she was drugged, raped and murdered.

On Thursday, April 12, the Jammu and Kashmir government appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive Kathua rape and murder case to ensure focussed attention and speedy conduct in the matter, said a report in The Financial Express quoting a senior official. The state police crime branch which probed the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic Muslim Bakerwal community had filed a main charge sheet against seven accused persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district earlier this week.

Asked whether two Sikh officers were engaged as SPPs to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case, J&K DGP SP Vaid said “please do not think on religious lines. It has not been done. Police does not think in terms of Hindu or Muslim or Sikh”.

Vaid said nothing could be worse than this crime. “It is a very heinous crime, it can’t get worse than this. The SIT has done a very professional job and filed chargesheet, now we hope justice will be done,” said Vaid.

Victim’s family under threat: Even as the chorus for justice in Kathua rape case grows louder, the minor victim’s family is under threat. The sister of the eight-year-old girl, who was held captive, sedated and repeatedly raped before being killed, says her family received death threats recently. Speaking to News18 Network, she demanded death penalty for the accused.

A report in The Times of India (TOI) said the family of the raped and murdered eight-year-old quietly abandoned their home in Rasana village out of fear late on Tuesday after the Jammu Bar Association called a strike to protest the J&K police’s “mishandling” of the investigation into the case.

According to media reports, Asifa’s father Muhammad Yusuf Pujwala has left for an unknown place along with his wife, two children and livestock. Earlier, it was said that the family was planning to leave for Kashmir next month.

The girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from a spot near her house on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area. A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including a local priest, two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

Lawyers obstructing justice: On Tuesday, April 10, an FIR was registered against lawyers who attempted to prevent the police from filing chargesheet in the Kathua rape and murder case in Jammu and Kashmir, as the investigation came close to a conclusion. “The FIR has been lodged into the incident wherein some lawyers tried to obstruct the presenting of the chargesheet by the crime branch in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Kathua on Monday. Action under law will be taken against those found involved in the incident,” J&K Director-General of Police SP Vaid said.

In response, the Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) called for a bandh in the Jammu region on Wednesday in support of various demands, including CBI probe into the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl. Claiming mass support to the call for a strike, JHBA said more than two dozen social, religious and political groups besides commercial transport and tanker unions have pledged support.

BJP involvement: Local BJP leaders and two BJP ministers in state cabinet have come out in support of the accused, led out marches and held demonstrations, with the crowd waving the national flag and shouting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

One of the leading lights of the protest in favour of a CBI probe is senior Congress leader BS Slathia, the president of the Jammu Bar Association. Slathia spearheaded Wednesday’s Jammu bandh. Slathia is very close to Congress veteran and Rajya Sabha leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, who hails from Doda in the Jammu region. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election in the Udhampur-Doda constituency, Slathia was Azad’s chief election agent. Azad lost by about 60,000 votes to BJP’s Jitendra Singh, now minister of state in the PMO.

The chargesheet filed in the case said the 8-year-old girl was abducted, kept confined in a Devasthan, repeatedly gang-raped, drugged, beaten and ultimately killed by a group of men in Kathua. This has been revealed in a charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch. 

The chargesheet:

Briefly, it says the 8-year-old was gangraped repeatedly inside the Devasthan or prayer hall, after the mastermind had “performed rituals”. One of the rapists was called from Meerut to satisfy his lust. The girl was confined using sedatives, then strangled and hit on the head twice with a stone in order to make sure she was dead. But not before another accused, a police personnel, asked the others to wait because he wanted to rape her one last time.

The motive was to dislodge a group of Bakherwal Muslim nomads from Rasana village in Kathua near Jammu.

In the days that followed, the chargesheet states, the accused paid Rs 1.5 lakh as a bribe to local policemen who knew where the girl was kept and helped cover up the crime initially.

According to the chargesheet, the mastermind behind the rape and murder is retired revenue official Sanji Ram who is among the eight arrested, along with his son Vishal Jangotra and nephew, believed to be a juvenile.

The Crime Branch had also arrested Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, a Rasana resident Parvesh Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj in the case. Dutta and Raj were arrested on charges of attempting to destroy evidence.

According to the chargesheet, the girl’s father Mohd Yousuf lodged a complaint on January 12 at the Hiranagar station that his daughter who had gone for grazing horses in the nearby forest at about 1230 hrs on January 10 had not returned. A FIR was lodged and police arrested Ram’s nephew, leading to allegations of a cover-up by the Bakherwal community. On January 22, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.

The chargesheet states that Ram masterminded the conspiracy to kidnap and, later rape and kill the girl. It states that he made SPO Khajuria and the juvenile a “part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually”.

Here are some reactions:

Congress President Rahul Gandhi led a march at India Gate last night in protest of the Unnao and Kathua rape cases. He said there were repeated incidents of violence, rape and murder of women in the country. “We want the government to take action.

“Today, women are feeling insecure to move out of their houses. Somewhere a child, a woman is raped, killed and we want that the government should resolve this. The women of the country should feel safe,” he said.

Gandhi said it was a national issue and not a political issue. “This is an issue concerning women,” he said, adding that people from all parties as well as the common man was at the India Gate. “I only want to say that the atrocities being committed against women, the government should do something about it.” He said Modi’s slogan of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” was a correct slogan. “We are saying that Narendra Modi should begin the task of protecting women of the country,” he said.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh refused to speak on the Kathua rape case. When questioned by reporters on the Kathua rape case, Rajnath Singh refused to make a comment.

Speaking to India Today later, he said that in case of rape of a minor, FIR should be registered immediately. Singh said that in case there’s any issue with the FIR, it should be looked into immediately and swift action be taken. The home minister also said that he spoke to Mehbooba Mufti and strong action should be taken.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi says she’ll work to amend the POCSO Act to make rape of children under 12 years punishable by death. . “I am deeply moved with the rape incident of Kathua and [other cases]… (sic),” Maneka said adding that she and her ministry intends to bring an amendment of the POCSO Act to make death penalty must for rapists of children under the age of 12.

Union minister VK Singh on Thursday, April 12, said “we as humans” had failed the eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community who was gangraped and killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district but she would not be denied justice.

Union minister Smriti Irani, however, earlier said that the gangrape cases should not be politicised.

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi termed much of the attacks on the BJP-led government in UP over the Unnao case, and the support that two BJP Ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government extended to the Hindu Ekta Manch on the side of the accused in the Kathua case “as a pattern” by the opposition to undermine the Modi government.

A BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh Nandkumar Singh Chouhan said, “The act must have been committed by Pakistan’s agents to divide people by chanting Jai Shri Ram.”

India News

Watch: Crocodile comes out of open drain in Hyderabad

The local people informed the city police about the incident. The police further alerted the forest department. The crocodile was spotted at a place where a bridge is being constructed over the drain. Large number of people gathered around to catch a glimpse of the reptile.



Watch: Crocodile comes out of open drain in Hyderabad

A baby crocodile emerged from an overflowing Nala in Chintal basti, Hyderabad during heavy rainfall that took place in the city on Wednesday. The incident has triggered panioc among the local people in the area. People were shocked when the young crocodile came out the drain which was overflowing due to the heavy rainfall in the city.

The local people informed the city police about the incident. The police further alerted the forest department. The crocodile was spotted at a place where a bridge is being constructed over the drain. Large number of people gathered around to catch a glimpse of the reptile. The crocodile had been washed ashore in the flood water. The forest department took the help of the Disaster response force (DRF) to catch the crocodile.

The reptile was shifted to Nehru zoological park in the city. In a similar incident, a seven feet large crocodile had come into Raigadh’s Mangaon after heavy rains on July 22nd 2023. Some locals saw the giant reptile roaming freely on the road in front of Madgaon Kacheri road, Mangaon murthi complex. The locals informed the forest department,. They started an operation to rescue the animal. The operation took five hours and the crocodile was caught. The reptile was shifted to a safe habitat.

A huge crowd of people gathered around to watch the crocodile.In another scary incident a crocodile was seen crossing the Commerce college main road on July 20th 2023 in Kota Rajasthan. The vehicles and pedestrians stopped in their tracks.

Jairam Pandey, deputy conservator of Forest Kota confirmed his staff had informed about the reptile but the crocodile disappeared into the drains. A video shows a three and ahalf feet crocodile crossing the commerce college near Sabji Mandi. Since the city of Kota is situated on the bank of Chambal river, which has a gharial sanctuary crocodiles occasionally enter nearby areas     

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India News

Rahul Gandhi visits Delhi’s Kirti Nagar furniture market, interacts with carpenters

During the visit, the Congress leader interacted with the carpenters at work and heard their problems



Rahul Gandhi visits Delhi’s Kirti Nagar furniture market, interacts with carpenters

In yet another surprise visit in the national capital, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached Asia’s largest furniture market in Kirti Nagar. During the visit, the Congress leader interacted with the carpenters at work and heard their problems associated with their daily lives. He also tried his hand at building some furniture items. 

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote that today, he went to Asia’s largest furniture market located in Kirti Nagar, Delhi and met his carpenter brothers. He expressed that apart from being hard workers, they are also amazing artists and experts at carving strength and beauty. He added that they talked a lot and he got to know a little about their skills and also tried to learn a little.

Congress too took to social media platform, X and noted that people’s leader Rahul Gandhi met the carpenters and listened to their problems and tried to know and understand their skills closely. The party also shared a few pictures of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the market in Kirti Nagar. Congress underlined that Bharat Jodo Yatra continues.

As far as reports are concerned, this was Rahul Gandhi’s third such reaching-out exercise in Delhi in the recent past. Earlier, he met fruit and vegetable vendors in Azadpur Mandi in August after a video of a tearful vendor struggling with inflation went viral.

Recently, he also met railway porters at Anand Vihar Railway station and interacted with them to know their concerns. His visit followed a month after the porters of the railway station expressed their desire to meet him. During the course of interaction, Rahul Gandhi assured the porters that he will put forth the issues of porters and auto drivers in front of the central government. 

During the last few months, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has met people from various frontiers including students, farmers, bike mechanics etc. 

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India News

Anant Chaturdashi 2023: 2450 idols immersed by 3pm across Mumbai during Ganesh festival

The festival started with Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19 and concluded on the Anant Chaturdashi on Thursday. Mumbai’s Lalbaug area is famous for celebrating the festival with much grandeur.



Anant Chaturdashi 2023: 2450 idols immersed by 3pm across Mumbai during Ganesh festival

During the drum beats and chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya various Ganesh Mandals in Mumbai on Thursday started the process of immersion of the Ganesh idols, concluding the 10 day Ganesh festival. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official by 3pm a total of 2452 idols had been immersed, which included 25 of Goddess Gauri, 116 public idols and 2311 household ones.

He said 919 of the 2452 idols were immersed in artificial ponds set up by the civic body. The 919 idols consisted of 12 of goddess Gauri, nine public idols and 898 household idols. Huge crowd of devotees gathered at various places in the city to catch a glimpse of their favourite diety. Decked up idols of Lord Ganesh in various forms and sizes were taken out of Pandals for their final journey accompanies by prayers, dance and music.

The festival started with Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19 and concluded on the Anant Chaturdashi on Thursday. Mumbai’s Lalbaug area is famous for celebrating the festival with much grandeur. The procession of the idols Ganesh Gully and Tejukaya mandals started with the chants of Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya and Ganpati Bappa Morya.

The Lal Baugcha Raja idol that attracts maximum number of devotees started at around 11.30 am. A large number of people were waiting on sides of the road for the final darshan of the idol. Thousands of devotees gathered on the streets of Lalbaug to bid farewell to their favourite diety and witness the vibrant procession of people with the sprinkling of gulal, dance and music.

There was a large gathering of devotees at Lalbaug’s Shroff building to witness the showering of flowers on the Ganesh idols. A large crowd was seen gathered near the main road which lead to Girgaon in South Mumbai.

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