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Lal Singh does it again,Rallies for the accused, blames CM for ‘mishandling’ Kathua case

By Mudassir Kuloo

Srinagar, Apr 17: For the same reason he was forced to resign as a minister, Chowdhary Lal Singh on Tuesday again took out a rally in Jammu where he questioned the Crime Branch probe in the Kathua case, and blamed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for “mishandling” the issue.
Singh took out the rally three days after he and Chander Prakash Ganga were resigned as BJP faced criticism for their leaders’ participation in Hindu Ekta Manch rally in March in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an eight year old girl.
Singh took out the rally despite simmering anger across India and abroad against the rape and murder of Muslim girl.
He along with his supporters started rally from Jammu district in the morning to Basholi Kathua, his home constituency.
On the way, he addressed several gatherings at Satwari Chowk, Samba and Kathua. He said that only “CBI probe was acceptable to people of Jammu”.
“I and people of Jammu have always been saying that CBI shall investigate the Kathua incident,” Singh said.
“This is also the demand of Hindu Ekta Manch. Ganga and I also went to their rally for it,” he said. Amid this his supporters were shouting slogans and carrying placards that read, “Only CBI probe is acceptable.”
He said that accused into the case also demanded a narcotic test and CBI probe.
The rally, according to reports, was taken out to express solidarity with the families of the eight accused booked in the case.
The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police has submitted a charge sheet in the case against eight accused, including two special police officers and a sub-inspector and a head constable for destroying evidence.
Seven out of the eight accused were produced before district and sessions Judge Sanjay Gupta on Monday.
The judge asked the Crime Branch to give accused copies of the charge sheet and fixed 28 April as the next date of hearing.
Criticizing the Chief Minister, Singh claimed that she was responsible for “mishandling” the issue.
“If two ministers can sacrifice their posts in the interest of peace, those who are actually responsible for creating such an atmosphere should listen to their conscience,” he said, while targeting the Mehbooba Mufti.
“Chief Minister, who also holds the portfolio of Home Department, showed non-seriousness in dealing with the issue. It is her (Mehbooba Mufti’s) biggest failure. If she has wisdom and conscience, she should resign. She only give orders without doing anything,” Singh, the former forest minister said.
“Our fight is for justice, which will be done only by identifying the real culprits,” he said, while criticizing Kashmir media that played a crucial role in exposing the accused.
“A perception has been created across the nation by media against us. Kashmir media also project it a wrong way unlike Jammu media. We did not want any riots be held in our country so we resigned. It was a conspiracy to create communal disturbance. A Crime Branch officer investigating the case is also facing rape charges,” he said, while questioning the Crime Branch probe.
He claimed that voices were also growing in Kashmir for a CBI probe. “People have started realising loopholes in the Crime Branch investigations,” he said.
However, he ruled out that he will resign from the BJP. “I will stay with the BJP. Had a BJP leader holding Home Department, then I would have complained to the party,” he added.
The brutal gang rape and murder of the girl from the nomadic Bakerwal community and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue were also written about in an editorial of the New York Times.
In the editorial titled ‘Modi’s Long Silence as Women in India Are Attacked’, the NYT editorial board said Modi tweets frequently and considers himself a “talented orator” yet he “loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party”.