JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Congress Wednesday said it stands by the family of Kathua rape case victim after its spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath resigned from the party over its decision to “allow” an ex-minister, who had allegedly defended the accused, to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Nath, a lawyer by profession, had said on Tuesday that she is leaving the Congress on “ideological grounds” as former minister Lal Singh, who is also the chairman of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP), was responsible in sabotaging the 2018 Kathua rape case by “brazenly defending” rapists of the eight-year-old nomadic girl.
“She (Deepika) announced her decision to resign from the party on Twitter. The high command has taken note and will decide on it.
“However, the stand of our party on the rape and murder case is crystal clear as we stand with the family of the victim and have always favoured a fair probe to bring the culprits to book,” J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
He said the party has not extended an invitation to Singh to join the yatra.
“He has expressed his willingness to be part of the yatra which was launched by Rahul Gandhi to unite the country against hatred and divisive politics.
“We have welcomed everyone who accepted the ideology of Gandhi…Singh was a member of the BJP at that time and was sent by his party along with then ministerial colleague Chander Prakash Ganga to Kathua. Both of them submitted their resignations from the council of ministers and Ganga is still with BJP,” Sharma said.
Singh, a two-time MP and three time MLA, switched from Congress to BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the previous PDP-BJP government which collapsed in June, 2018, after the national party pulled out of the alliance.
Several months before the fall of the government, Singh resigned from BJP and floated DSSP following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the accused in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January 2018.
However, he defended his participation in the rally stating that he was there to “defuse the situation”.
Deepika said she made her decision known to the party through her tweets after her repeated communications with the leadership evoked no response ever since Singh extended support to Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“I have no complaint against the party but my resignation is purely based on the ideological grounds as he (Singh) is the person who was responsible in sabotaging the Kathua rape case by brazenly defending the rapists and divided the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir,” Deepika had said.
She added, “She cannot share the platform with such a person who is trying to come back into the party.”
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She said the yatra is against the hatred, division and all those bad things that have weakened the country so far.
“I have already joined the foot march in Kerala and have been part of it as I support the idea behind the march…I will think whether I will join the yatra as an ordinary person when it reaches Jammu or Srinagar and so far I have not made any decision,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lal Singh appealed to all the members of his party as well as other like-minded people to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra, scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir at Lakhanpur on Thursday.
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“Bharat Jodo Yatra is as an unprecedented event in the history of India. It is the moral and political duty of every Indian to become a part of it,” he said.
He said “the yatra is a befitting rejoinder to the divisive policies of the ruling party, both at the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir because the BJP has been surviving on the formula of pitting one community against the other and one caste against the other at the pan-India level.”