Kathua rape case: BJP ministers backing accused quit but not before they mocked law, government and humanity

Jammu: On 1 March during a speech delivered at Kooth village, Chaudhary Lal Singh, the forest minister in BJP-PDP government, told a gathering that people have been going missing for decades, an indirect reference to the massacre of Muslims in Jammu during 1947 partition of India during which nearly two lakh Muslims were either killed or driven out of their homes.

File images of J&K ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash. Twitter

File images of J&K ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash. Twitter

The rally was organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch, a right-wing group headed by a BJP leader, which has been the organiser of the protests and defends the accused, Sanji Ram and special police officer Deepak Khajuria, in the rape case of a young Bakarwal girl.

Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, Jammu and Kashmir's minister for commerce and industries addressed a gathering of more than thousand people who have been demanding a CBI probe in the brutal rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl. At least seven MLAs from BJP participated in the rally, reportedly following the consent of the party high command.

As this copy was being edited, the two senior BJP ministers tendered their resignations to the state party chief. The general secretary of BJP, Ashok Koul, confirmed to Firstpost on Friday evening that both Singh and Ganga had submitted their resignations to state BJP president, Sat Sharma. There is no information if the same has been forwarded to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti yet.

"One girl was killed here. They don’t understand that many women have gone missing since 1947. No one is asking about them,” Singh had said to a cheering audience. He was speaking in Dogri. Firstpost translated the speech with the help of two Dogri speaking journalists based in Jammu.

Singh, who was earlier with the Congress, on 18 May, 2016, had threatened Gujjars in Jammu by reminding them of the 1947 massacre of Muslims in the region, sparking a controversy which fizzled out only after he was forced to eat his words.

O Gujron, 1947 pulligaya hai tuse ge? (Gujjars, have you forgotten 1947. Why have you come here?)” Singh told a delegation of Muslim farmers from Jammu, which included Mohammed Mumtaz, a sarpanch, and a group of Hindu and Muslim farmers, at his official residence in Gandhi Nagar.

“We went to the residence to apprise him about the problems being facing by people after an order issued by the forest department,” Mumtaz said. When one of the delegates raised the issue, the minister shouted him down.

“This outburst by the communal minister explains the mindset of the RSS and the Sangh Parivar,” chairman of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said at that time. “Any untoward incident with any Jammu Muslim will cause a storm in the entire state that will wash away people like Lal Singh.”

That was exactly what the minister was trying to tell the Gujjar family living in Rasana village, which is a nearby village of Kooth when he was addressing the protesters. “If you are doing this agitation, you should do it with force…If can’t manage a strong agitation, then go home,” he said.

“These people have no shame I and Ganga are from the same government. What kind of investigation is the crime branch doing? They are so intelligent (laughs) and are so intelligently doing it. They are asking questions, arresting our people, but have they posed any questions to Gujjars,” Singh told the gathering.

The minister said no one has trust in the state police and by handing over the investigation to SIT and Crime Branch later, the government has shown that no one trusts the police.

What follows is an English translation of the speech made in Dogri

Chaudhary Lal Singh, minister for forest

Chandra Prakash Ganga ji, party general secretary ji and our Jammu district president

Listen, people of Rasana,

If you are doing this agitation you should do it with force. This agitation should not be the like the way you are doing. If you can’t do a strong agitation then go home. It has to be a strong one.

But after seeing you all here, I am now confident this fight for truth and justice you have started will be won by you.

These people (the PDP government) have no shame. I and Ganga are from the same government. What kind of investigation is the Crime Branch doing? They are so intelligently carrying out this (laughing) investigation. They are asking, arresting our people but are they asking questions to Gujjars?

No one trusts the police. They first gave the investigation to the police, then to the SIT and then it was given to the Crime Branch. That means no one is trusting the police.

Throughout my life, I have never cared about anyone. I don’t know anyone. I only know you.

Loud cheers follow

It is because of you, we are standing here today, [referring to the MLA of BJP on stage and other leaders]. If you are going to get beaten up, then why will you vote for us? We are saying it again and again that the girl had to be given justice. We are sad and no one is justifying it. Everyone said that.

But without a reason, they are trying to give this incident an undue hype.

In the Assembly, this issue was raised by the Opposition and I tried to even tell them there. Every day there was an issue in the Assembly when people said we will arrest them (accused) and all that. The Opposition was saying that in Kathua there is zulm (atrocity) is being done on Muslims, and I was sitting in the same Assembly.

People laughing

Listen, I come from the party which has fought for its entire life for the country. How is it possible that someone among us is going to do this thing to the girl? Is it possible our men will do this, [asking people] Is anyone going to tolerate this. Not at all.

These buggers were trying to malign our image inside the Assembly. Every day, every morning I tolerated them in the Assembly.

They are naive(PDP). Is this their father's government? It is half ours and half theirs.

People cheering

If we step down it won’t be there. A leader from Srinagar (Omar Abdullah) said in the Assembly there should not be a CBI inquiry in the case.

What is this threat to a CBI inquiry that he is scared of? Are there people from Rasana in CBI? If there is a CBI inquiry how are the accused going to be saved? If it is possible for the CBI to get big people country, why can't they do an impartial investigation?

There is only one solution for this, there should be an agitation, and that is the only solution…If you don’t trust the police and SIT, why are you employing these people? You only get CBI because local police had failed and how is it possible that they have caught so many big people in India.

I have been drinking poison for a long time. This state doesn’t belong to only one community… I know what they can do. You don’t need to worry about them. You don’t have to worry about them. This state is not of their fathers.

Our party was made by you. You did some good demonstrations. When slogans were being raised these people started making dossier.

On this dossier you slap a PSA (Public Safety Act) on people. Are you going to put these people behind bars because they raised slogans?

You raise slogans and protest against injustice. Why should PSA be slapped on you? You were raising slogans for your own rights. If you are doing agitation do it with proper force. If you don’t want to do it go home then.

They are saying there is Section 144, [asking people]. Do you know what it is?

It is nothing! (Kahk nahi)

Here one girl was killed and there have been many women missing since 1947, no one is asking about them. So does it make a difference?

Someone died in Chani, no one did anything for him.

Listen what kind of law is this you are implementing which is one-sided. You are discriminating people on the basis of religion.

You have asked for a CBI probe, we are with you to do the agitation. In front of the people, no one can do anything.

Only one man does need justice. Every one needs justice. A man slapped someone and you levelled PSA on him and your police are dividing people. Then you show law on one and on the other six you don’t.

You are beating up people and torturing them. Why are they beating them? There are modern technics. Do a DNA test, narco test everything will be clear…So why are you beating them? Instead of making rounds of districts and why are you beating these five people?

You have got an SSP from Kashmir. Are police officers sick here in Jammu? You have got people from outside. One person goes on leave another comes.


Government's job is to provide a sense of security not to provide them with a sense of insecurity. The people should trust the government, I have fought five elections I know everything. I have been an MP.

People from Kooth are very clever. People were not what they are today. Is everyone going to teach us law now? We are with you and always will be with you.

And listen if your MLA goes from this place, he is now saying that people are with us and that is the reason we came here.

You have to keep your MLA with you and he will walk in front of you. You will curse your MLA, but there are games being played here. You have to be cautious. You have a non-political organisation (Hindu Ekta Manch) the MLA here is scarred. He is a nice man. No one can be like Chaudhary Lal Singh, This man (MLA) will always with you.

Your MLA is your way to the government and for the agitation, without him, you can’t win this battle. MLA will be with you.

He kept his point and he is not going to leave. Don’t make this a political issue. This is your issue and you have to win this issue.

If anyone has done injustice to the girl he is a neech and a low man. If anyone is thinking, in this case, anyone is going to make an issue out of it we won’t allow it. If you think people are going to make a stain on the name of this issue that we will not allow.

Here people with 15 and 20 stars on their shoulders can’t do anything: [referring to police] Don’t make much drama here, you don’t have to make people fearful.

If you have to give an interview and get the IAS, KAS or KPS, who is going to get the courage when it comes to dealing with these people? If you are frightening people this is not going to work.

Our slogan is Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.

If (Narendra) Modi says I made your government and these people are being beaten is he going to leave us?

Listen, people from Rasana if someone touches you or puts his finger on you I will assure you that it is our guarantee we will deal with them. But you don’t have to migrate from here. Why should you leave, our villages in Kathua? It is a matter of shame.

We are Dogras, we have fought fights for centuries.

I will come back again if something wrong happens. You should continue with what you are doing if your demands are not met I will show you the way how to do it.

This committee should remain in coordination.

We are with you and we will always be with you.


Updated Date: Apr 14, 2018 09:04 AM

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