Printed from
Greater Kashmir

NC seeks capital punishment in Kathua rape-murder case

The crime a manifestation of repressive politics hinging on | disempowerment of Gujjar-Bakerwal communities: Farooq Abdullah

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 16 2018 1:26AM
NC seeks capital punishment in Kathua rape-murder casePhoto: Aman Farooq/GK

Amid growing demands for strict punishment to the accused in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case of a child, National Conference president, Farooq Abdullah on Sunday demanded a special session of state Assembly for enacting a law for capital punishment in such crimes.

“There should be capital punishment for such heinous crimes. Let the government call a special session of Assembly to pass the bill for capital punishment to the accused,” Abdullah told reporters at party headquarter here.

If the bill is passed, Abdullah said it will be a “great thing” and could prove a deterrence against such crimes in future.  

“Why shouldn’t she (the Chief Minister) do it now (bring the bill)?” asked Abdullah who is also Member Parliament from Srinagar constituency. 

“She (the victim) was just eight years old. She was just like my daughter. They (PDP and BJP) are in power here, they should call the special session and bring the bill,” Abdullah said.

The Bakerwal child had gone missing while grazing horses in Rassana village of Kathua district on January 10 and her body was found in a nearby forest on January 17. 

Police have arrested eight accused for their involvement in the gruesome crime. The charge-sheet in the case revealed spine-chilling details of how the victim was starved, held captive, sedated and gang-raped over a week before being bludgeoned to death.

On April 12, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also expressed the need to enact a new law to make rape of minors punishable by death.

“We will never ever let another child suffer in this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors, so that little girl’s case becomes the last,” Mufti had said in a tweet. 

Abdullah hoped justice will be done in the Kathua case. 

To a question that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also assured justice in the case, Avdullah said the nation has woken up and taken the heinous crime very seriously.

Chairing his party’s Kashmir provincial committee meeting, Abdullah said the rape and murder of the child was not an isolated, spontaneous crime but “manifestation of a deeply repugnant and repressive politics that hinges on the harassment, intimidation and disempowerment of nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal communities”.

In a statement issued by NC, Abdullah accused that the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities had been receiving threats and intimidation ever since the present political dispensation came to power.

Without naming anyone, Abdullah said the ministers of the present government have been openly threatening the community of dire repercussions and one minister went to extent of reminding them of horrors of the 1947 massacre when tens of thousands of Muslims were massacred in Jammu and Poonch and an unknown number displaced.

“The Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have been hounded, targeted and intimidated for nearly three years now while PDP has remained a mute spectator. Had the PDP objected to this harassment and intimidation, perhaps things would not have come to this tragic pass. The Chief Minister’s silence over repeated attempts to harass and threaten the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities emboldened these elements and the consequences are here for all of us to see,” a statement quoting Abdullah said.   

Abdullah expressed concern over “deteriorating situation” in the state pushing youth towards a path of unimaginable anger and hostility.

“We are deeply concerned at the spate of unabated civilian killings in the Valley and at the government’s shocking abdication of responsibility to prevent these killings. The government cannot blame the dead for dying. The chief minister should introspect and listen to some rare calls of conscience in her own party – including that of her brother, Tassaduq Mufti who recently said the PDP and the BJP were ‘partners in crime’", Abdullah said.