22 September 2018 06:13 PM

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JEHANGIR ALI | 13 APRIL, 2018

PDP is Upset with the BJP over Kathua Rape, But Not Enough to Say Goodbye

PDP looks to PM


SRINAGAR: The horrific rape and murder of a young nomadic girl in Kathua district has opened up fresh cracks in the PDP-BJP alliance even as the former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah today asked the prime minister Narendra Modi to speak up.

The gory details of the crime have shocked the world with prominent citizens, and sports and Bollywood personalities coming out in support of the 8 year old girl, who was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, bludgeoned to death and dumped in a forest close to her home in Rasana village in January.

More than three months later, the Crime Branch charge-sheet against a former revenue officer and two policemen among seven accused, unearthed a communal conspiracy in the case aimed at driving out the nomadic Bakerwal Muslims from the Hindu-dominated Rasana area.

However, the issue has communally polarised the state with a group of lawyers, backed by the Hindu right-wing groups, who were booked for stopping crime branch from filling its chargesheet against the accused, enforcing a Jammu bandh on Wednesday.

The BJP, whose leaders have openly endorsed the rallies and protests against the crime branch and in favour of the accused, is maintaining an ambiguous stance with the state BJP spokesperson Sunil Sharma reiterating the demand for a CBI probe into the case.

“We are not in favour of the accused. Our party is only demanding a CBI probe into the case. That will address concerns of the people in Jammu,” Sharma said. Asked why the party is not backing the crime branch probe, he said, “People don’t trust them.”

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up. “Hon PM sir, there isn’t a day when we don’t hear you speak about things that are important to you yet there are times when you are completely silent about things that are important to others. Please don’t let the 8 year old girl be someone you choose to remain silent about”.

The politics of communalisation played by the BJP, whose two leaders and cabinet ministers in Mehbooba Mufti government, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, attended a rally by Hindu Ekta Manch in favour of the culprits, after the party’s nod, has not gone down well with the PDP.

In an interview with Indian Express, Tassaduq Mufti, the Chief Minister’s brother and J&K’s tourism minister, has minced no words in blaming the coalition for pushing Kashmir towards a situation “where it can lead to bloodshed of a scale that doesn’t find a precedent in history”.

The interview that has appeared in today’s edition has been conducted in the backdrop of the 8 year old girl case. It comes after Mehbooba Mufti sacked her finance minister Haseeb Drabu for reportedly saying that ‘Kashmir is not a political issue’. Drabu’s sacking had shocked the coalition since he was its main architect.

A senior PDP leader, who is also a cabinet minister, told The Citizen that “prolonged and unnecessary delay” in implementing the “political component” of ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, the governance agenda between the two parties, has ‘soured’ relations.

“Against this backdrop Mehboobaji has met the prime minister recently and raised our concerns. People of J&K are yearning for the return of peace in the state and only the PM, who has the mandate of the people of India, to get J&K out of its present chaos,” the PDP leader said.

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