Majid Kapra

Separatists protest against Kathua rape and murder

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Yasin Malik arrested

Srinagar, Feb 22: The separatist leaders on Thursday demanded capital punishment for the accused involved in rape and murder of 8-year-old Gujjar girl Asifa Bano in Jammu’s Kathua district.

“The Joint Resistance Leadership resolves to fight for the justice to Asifa. We demand all the accused should be hanged,” JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said while addressing a protest rally here.

Earlier, chairmen of parallel factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq addressed the rally telephonically.

The separatist trio — Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik —  appealed people of India including civil society and human rights activists to play their role to bring the offender involved in the heinous crime against the minor Muslim girl to book.

The trio also appealed people of Jammu and Kashmir to be united at this juncture and continue their protest against the dastardly act.

In his telephonic address, Geelani while quoting verses of holy Quran, said “killing one person, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, is equivalent to killing the entire humanity.”

“Kathua incident has ashamed the entire humanity; it seems that human blood has no value. Had the Jammu and Kathua administration not taken the issue casually during initial phase, innocent Asifa would have been alive,” said Geelani.

Deploring the rally by the members of Hindu right-wing group in favor of the guilty, Geelani said “the rally in which BJP activists had carried tricolor in their hands, is a blot on the administration.”

“Asifa was an innocent child; I appeal the conscious population to do what they did in ‘Damini’ Nirbhaya case. Let you join the chorus against barbarism. We appeal people to come forward and register their protest so that no crime of this nature takes places in future,” he added.

Geelani hoped that the offenders including the main culprit — a Special Police Officer (SPO) — will be dealt according to the law. He also expressed sympathies with family of the minor rape victim.

Mirwaiz while demanding capital punishment to the guilty said “the incident was heinous in nature as the minor innocent nomad girl was abducted, then raped for one week, and finally murdered.”

He claimed that “instead of punishing the guilty, PDP’s ally in the government, BJP, took out the rally in support of the rapist which is unfortunate on part of the largest democracy.

“We want the culprit to be awarded with death penalty and the members of Hindu Ekta Manch, who have been harassing Gujjar community in Kathua, be booked. By holding rally in favor of a rapist a communal color is being given to the issue,” Mirwaiz added.

He said the Gujjar community in Kathua is being harassed on one pretext or other. “Water supply has been stopped to them, ever-since PDP-BJP came into power in the state, things have turned from bad to worse. Communal forces have been encouraged,” he said.

He said nothing can be more shameless than supporting the rapists and murderers of an eight-years-old girl  and “then threatening the community to which she belongs, of dire consequences”.

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik also demanded capital punishment for the guilty and pledged to continue protest till the offender is taken to task.

“We will spill our blood on roads but would not stop supporting suppressed Muslims in Jammu. This is for the first time when educated people holding tricolor held protest in support of a monster. Jammu Muslims feel insecure,” said Malik.

While criticizing ruling PDP, he said “the party which promised to protect people during elections today extends support to pro-rapist rally. I would like to be very clear that we will protect our Muslim brethren in Jammu,” he added.

Demanding capital punishment to the two accused arrested so far — Deepak Khajuria and Virender Sharma – some leaders of the minority communities here, who joined the protest rally, said Kashmir has been epitome of communal harmony and brotherhood and such evil acts won’t be able to prevail upon the secular fabric of the state.

“Minorities are safe in Kashmir. I hope the government will protect our rich culture and stern action will be taken against those involved in the rape and murder of eight-year-old girl,” Professor C. L. Vishen said.

Christian Pastor, Father Veenu said it’s the time for PDP and BJP ruling combine to act and punish the culprit. “We support Joint Resistance Leadership’s stand in this regard and condemn the dastardly act in strong words.”

Sikh leader, Devendra Singh said the communal forces are hell-bent on spoiling the secular fabric of the state .

“Criminals responsible for this heinous crime need to be dealt with sternly. We extend our full support to the leadership and pledge to take this battle against inhumanity to its logical conclusion,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Police on Thursday detained Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik at Abi Guzar here after he tried to take out a protest march towards city center.

A large posse of police reached the JKLF’s office at Abi Guzar and detained Yasin Malik who tried to take out a rally towards Lal Chowk against the rape and murder of Kathua minor Asifa Bano.

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