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Coalition faces criticism over Jasrotia’s inclusion into cabinet

Srinagar, May 01: Anger has been brewing against the PDP-BJP government over inclusion of Rajiv Jasrotia, who took part in a rally supporting rape and murder accused of 8-year-old Muslim girl in Kuthua, into the cabinet.
Three senior BJP leaders, Chowdhary Lal Singh, Chandra Prakash Ganga, and Rajiv Jasrotia, participated in a Hindu Ekta Manch rally in support of the accused.
Singh and Ganga had resigned in the wake of national outrage over their participation in the rally. Their resignations were seen as a damage-control move from the BJP.
Surprisingly, Jasrotia has been included into the Mehbooba Mufti-led cabinet amid growing anger against the coalition partners.
Joint Hurriyat Leadership, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said, “Inducting another organizer of the pro rapist rallies-Ravinder Jasrotia-into the government clearly shows that BJP does not believe in deviating from its politics of polarisation and appeasement of certain communities for votes, even on a basic human issue like this, which is not surprising.”
The Joint Hurriyat said, “It just reinforces the fact of how helpless the local collaborators, the PDP are and how shameless they can be to stay on for the sake of chair. It also indicates how much justice can be expected for Kathua girl from a system run by such people.”
They also condemned the “outrageous and inhuman” statement by Kavinder Gupta of BJP that the deliberate and gruesome rape and murder was a “small matter”.
“It reflects the sick, communal mindset and value structure of the proud RSS man,” they said.
General Secretary Kashmir High Court Bar Association, G N Shaheen, said that the PDP-BJP government had no “political morality”.
Over induction of Jasrotia into the cabinet, he said, “It is as two criminals are shunt out and two criminals inducted. This entire exercise is motivated and just gives a message that they are partners in the crime.”
Kashmir’s trade bodies-Kashmir Economic Alliance and Kashmir Traders Manufactures Federation- have condemned the inclusion of Jasrotia into the cabinet.
KEA Chairperson Haji Mohammad Yasin Khan said his forums would “boycott” events where ever Jasrotia is invited as a guest.
Khan, who also heads the KTMF, said, “It is unfortunate that to be in power the ruling PDP is rubbing shoulders with pro-rapist faces, who want release of gangsters involved in gang-rape and murdered of Kuthua girl.”
“This is not the issue of politics or religion but humanity. When even New Delhi based media, which is otherwise seen anti-Kashmir has taken stand against elevation of the pro-rapists as ministers, how can people of the home state tolerate elevation of pro-rapist lobby,” Khan said.
He said the KEA and KTMF had distanced themselves from functions where the then “pro-rapist” ministers Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga were present.
Meanwhile taking a dig at Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta’s remarks that Kathua rape and murder was a “small incident”, he said “The RSS man’s remarks have insulted humanity.”
Advocate Deepika S Rajawat, lawyer of Kuthua rape victim, said, “If he (Jasrotia) was participating in the rally there shall be action against him.”
However, she refused to comment over his inclusion into the PDP-BJP government.
Zahid Parvaz Chowdhary, who is part of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Conference, claimed that Jasrotia was the “mastermind” for organizing rally in support of the accused.
“Jasrotia brought Lal Singh and Ganga in the rally. Giving Jasrotia forest department portfolio has further worries the Gujjars as the BJP has been opposing extension of Forest (tribal) Right Act to the state,” Chowdhary said. Civil society and people from all walks of life have expressed their resentment over his inclusion.
Reacting over Jasrotia’s induction, Opposition National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah has said the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, “seemed confused” over her stand on Kathua incident “as one of the participants in pro-rapists rally is now a minister in her cabinet”.
“Two BJP ministers removed in J&K for attending a pro-rapist rally & a MLA who is reported to have attended the same rally is promoted as a minister. Why are the BJP/ @MehboobaMufti confused about where they stand on the #Kathua rape?” Omar wrote on his twitter handle.
However, the PDP-BJP leaders prefer silence over the issue.
Senior PDP and Gujjar leader Qamar Hussain refused to comment over Jasrotia’s inclusion into the cabinet. However, he said that BJP was “bringing” problems to Muslims in Jammu region.
BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav, also dodged questions on Monday over his inclusion.