Moments after old RSS hand Kavinder Gupta took oath as the Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister, trouble found the 59-year-old politician as he termed the gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua a 'small incident'. According to Gupta such incidents should not get so much attention.
All the opposition parties including Congress did not take much time to slam the remark forcing Gupta to issue a clarification.
Gupta, who is an MLA representing the Gandhinagar assembly seat, was asked by reporters whether the reshuffle carried out by the Mehbooba Mufti government was a result of the Kathua case in which some BJP leaders had participated last month in a rally in support of the accused.
"Kathua maamla ek chota sa maamla hai. Isko itna tool nahi dena chahiye (Kathua case is a small incident which should not be given so much importance)," Gupta replied.
Known for having made controversial remarks during his stint as Speaker of the state Assembly, Gupta said the Kathua incident was 'minor issue (chhoti si baat)'.
"We have to think that this should never happen again, and the child gets justice. There are many challenges like this facing the government. We should not give this incident so much importance," Gupta added.
Asked about the demand for a CBI probe into the Kathua case, he said "the matter is with the courts, let them decide for now."
National Conference's president for Jammu province and MLA Davinder Singh Rana condemned Gupta's remarks saying they showed "insensitivity to such a gory crime which is a slur on humanity and has brought shame to Jammu and Kashmir".
This is a sad reflection of the mindset of the ruling party, he added.
Congress leader Salman Nizami tweeted, "After pro-rapist MLA was inducted in Ministry, this shameless/heartless BJP neta- Dy CM JK Kavinder Gupta says Rape and murder of 8-year-old girl in Kathua is a SMALL issue, should not be given much hype. And his supporters Laugh.....! Shame BJP Shame (sic)."
After pro-rapist MLA was inducted in Ministry, this shameless/heartless BJP neta- Dy CM J&K Kavinder Gupta says Rape & murder of 8 year old girl in Kathua is a SMALL issue, shd not be given much hype. And his supporters Laugh.....! Shame BJP Shame. pic.twitter.com/6rkxSiBhhv— Salman Nizami (@SalmanNizami_) April 30, 2018
As his comments were slammed, Gupta issued a clarification saying that he meant that the Kathua case was sub-judice and before the Supreme Court.
"Continuously debating on the issue is not right. Giving this matter weight is not a good thing. I said that there are a lot of issues like this," he said.
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped and brutally killed in a village in Kathua district. There were outrage and protests across the country over the crime.
(With inputs from agencies)