New Delhi: The two BJP ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government, Chandra Parkash Ganga and Lal Singh, who defended the men arrested for raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, submitted their resignations to state BJP president Sat Sharma on Friday evening.
The BJP, while confirming the resignation of two ministers, said that the party legislature meeting will decide the fate of both the ministers on Saturday.
“When we met people they put forward a demand of CBI inquiry, we had simply put it across being people's representatives. Now, such a perception is being created that I deemed it fit to tender my resignation (as J&K Minister),” said Lal Singh.
The development comes soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at an event to inaugurate the BR Ambedkar memorial in the national capital, said that no criminal will be spared and justice will be done to daughters of the nation.
"Incidents being discussed since past two days cannot be part of a civilised society. As a country, as a society we all are ashamed of it. I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice," said PM Modi.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav blamed the Congress for politicising the issue.
“We actually acted very fast, state government and police acted swiftly. Congress is trying to politicise the issue, I am accusing Congress of being behind the agitations in Jammu,” said Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary.
Ganga and Singh had earlier hit out at the police for arresting "one or the other person at will" in connection with the case.
Opposition parties National Conference and the Congress had demanded that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should sack the two ministers.
The PDP came out with a strong statement blaming the Centre and "hawkish and communal" elements in the BJP for failing the purpose of the alliance between the two parties in the state.
The statement signed by its senior leader Nizamuddin Bhat, a close aide of the chief minister, said, "The conduct of communal and hawkish elements in BJP is giving serious blow to PDP's expectations on Kashmir and New Delhi's own attitudes are failing the purpose of alliance between the two parties."
BJP leader Ram Madhav though denied any trouble in the alliance over the resignation of ministers.
”There is no trouble in alliance as such, we are in touch with Mehbooba Mufti Ji, she is of the view that on the minsters issue (Lal Singh & PC Ganga) BJP should take a stand. PM also advised us to take appropriate action to send a right message to people,” Ram Madhav.
The girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from a spot near her house in Kathua on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area.
A Special Investigation Team of Crime Branch, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable and a Sub-inspector, who were charged with destroying evidence.
Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal rape and murder, with a group Hindu Ekta Manch siding with the accused and lawyers obstructing the submission of chargesheet in the court.
State Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh has defended the investigation by the crime branch into the rape and killing of the girl, saying it was a court-monitored probe.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court stepped in to warn the lawyers in Jammu that they cannot obstruct the process of law, while the Delhi High Court restrained the media from revealing the identity of the victim by any means.
The top court took umbrage against the lawyers’ body of Kathua and Jammu for obstructing the way of the counsel of the victim's family in the trial court, saying that advocates' bodies have a solemn duty to not obstruct members of legal fraternity representing the parties.
In a related development, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S P Vaid asserted that all necessary steps will be taken to provide protection to the family members of the eight-year-old girl, who was raped and killed in Kathua, and the witnesses in the case.