‘What has happened in Kathua is sad. It is shameful’, says Rajnath Singh

‘What has happened in Kathua is sad. It is shameful’, says Rajnath Singh
Photo: ANI

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday termed the horrific Kathua rape and murder as “deeply unfortunate and shameful” and ensure proper justice to the family of the 8-year-old girl.

“What has happened in Kathua is sad. It is shameful. Anyone belonging to any religion, community cannot but condemn the incident. The family must get justice,” Singh said in an interview to Hindustan Times.

The remarks from the senior most political figure of the ruling BJP led NDA government comes after party leaders from Jammu and Kashmir is accused of shielding the culprits.

“No one, no one can defend it. No one should politicise an incident of this nature. I have talked to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti several times and have asked my party workers to visit the place and take initiative to ensure justice to the victims, and thus normalise the situation,” Rajnath Singh told news channel Aaj Tak.

Asifa Bano, an eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community disappeared near her house while grazing horses on January 10 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district. She was held captive inside a temple, and was sedated before being raped and murdered.

A week later, her body was recovered from Rassana forest in Kathua district of Jammu on January 17.

In Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, a case involving the alleged gang rape of a girl by a BJP legislator and others, and the death of her father in police custody, has come to light.

The incident has triggered a political storm and public outrage.

On whether he supported death penalty in rape cases of young girls similar to the provisions in Rajasthan, the Home Minister said he is in favour of strictest punishments in cases of heinous crimes but reserved his opinion on death penalty.

“There should be no difference of opinion for strict punishment in cases of grave nature. What should be the law? To what extent it should go? On this, I believe there should be a debate and after discussion, we should come to a conclusion. I agree there should be harsh punishment for this.”

While the minister agreed that the victims and their families undergo harassment if there is delay in investigation and justice, he said: “As a Home Minister, I cannot directly intervene in state-related matters.”

He, however, added: “From my side, I try my best to talk to those states where cases are getting delayed.”