In a heart-wrenching incident that shook the collective conscience of India, an 8-year-old girl from Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped and raped repeatedly before being murdered brutally inside a temple.
The little girl went missing on January 10 and a week later, her body, bearing torture marks and signs of sexual abuse, was recovered on 17 January.
She was held in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January, was kept sedated and sexually assaulted once again before she was bludgeoned to death, the chargesheet filed by J&K Police’s revealed.
According to the police chargesheet, Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple, in Rassana village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.
Apart from him Sanji Ram, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram's nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias "Shamma" also raped the girl.
Two BJP ministers attend a rally in support of the rape accused
Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers Chader Prakash Ganga and Choudhary Lal Singh attended a rally organised by Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.
The HEM demanded the release of the accused arrested by the police and hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The BJP ministers extended their support to the demands of the fringe group.
Walk the talk on 'Beti Bachao': Rahul Gandhi taunts PM Modi at midnight march
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on April 13 led a midnight march to the India Gate in the heart of the national capital to demand justice for the Kathua and Unnao rape victims.
During the march, Rahul taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence and said it’s time for him to walk the talk on ‘Beti Bachao’ (save the girl child).
Amid loud slogans against the BJP and Prime Minister Modi during the march, Rahul said the women of the country are afraid to go out today and the government must ensure their safety.
Maneka Gandhi proposes death penalty for child rape
Amid the growing anger and protests over the gang rape and brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, the Women and Child Development Ministry said it would move a notice to amend the POCSO Act and bring in the death penalty for child rape.
"I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years," the Union minister said in a video posted on YouTube.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi breaks silence
After facing severe criticism from the people and Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence and said that the culprits behind the both rape cases will be punished.
“I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice,” Modi said at an event to inaugurate the B.R. Ambedkar memorial in New Delhi.
BJP ministers who attended the Kathua rally resigned
Both the BJP Ministers Chader Prakash Ganga and Choudhary Lal Singh resigned from the Mehbooba Mufti government after facing criticism for attending a rally in support of Kathua rape accused.
The resignation of the ministers came soon after PM Modi assured justice for the little girl.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres condemns the horrific incident
United Nations (UN) chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday termed the Kathua gangrape and murder case ‘horrific’ and said he hoped that justice would be delivered.
“I think we’ve seen the media reports of this horrific case, of the abuse and the murder of a young girl. We very much hope that the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice so they can be held accountable for the murder of this young girl," Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujjaric told reporters.
Bollywood starts a campaign for justice to the eight-year-old victim
Bollywood came forward to demand justice for the eight-year-old minor victim, who was brutally gang raped and killed in Kathua of Jammu and Kashmir.
Actresses Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadha, Konkona Sen Sharma, Swara Bhaskar, Gul Panag, Singer Vishal Dadlani, and others started an online campaign expressing their anger and demanding justice for the victim in Kathua and Unnao case.
The actors posted their pictures holding a placard that read, “I am Hindustan. I am Ashamed. #JusticeForOurChild; 8 years old. Gangraped. Murdered. In ‘Devi’-sthaan temple. #Kathua.”
Resigned BJP Minister Chander Prakash claims he attended Kathua rally on party’s directions
Resigned Jammu and Kashmir Minister Chander Parkash Ganga on Saturday revealed that he went to attend the Kathua rally organised in support of the ‘rapists’ of an eight-year-old girl on BJP’s instructions.
“We were sent (to Kathua) by the party. Our party president Sat Sharma sent us. We went there on the party’s instruction,” Ganga said, as tweeted reported by Times Now and tweeted by the Congress.
“When we heard the people, they told us since investigation changed hands thrice they don’t trust and they demanded CBI probe. I felt that if my sacrifice is required to protect party’s image I would be glad to do it,” the minister added.