BJP seeks Mir’s removal, Cong rejects

NEW DELHI, Apr 15:
The BJP today demanded the sacking of Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, claiming that he was seen in a video terming the police probe in the Kathua rape-and-murder case motivated and defending the public protests against it.
Citing the BJP’s decision to remove two of its Jammu and Kashmir Ministers, who had joined the public protests against the probe, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar wondered if Congress president Rahul Gandhi would only point fingers at others but maintain silence on the comments of his party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief.
In the video, which was played during a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Mir is purportedly telling reporters that the locals believed the investigation was motivated and that the main culprits were still at large.
Questions would be raised and there must be some justification in the people’s demand, Mir said, wondering if the probe was aimed at making some political points.
“When our Ministers expressed these sentiments, the Congress, the media made a lot of noise. We took action. They resigned. Now we want to ask Rahul Gandhi, who took out a candlelight march (protesting the growing incidents of crime against women in the country), why is he not taking action against his party’s State president,” Javadekar said.
Pointing fingers at others while protecting its own was the character of the Congress party, he alleged.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently verified by PTI.
The BJP had faced flak after its leaders in the Jammu region, including two Ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti Government, joined the public protests against the police probe into the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community that had led to the arrest of eight persons.
The two Ministers — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga — resigned on Friday, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said these incidents, including a rape case in which a BJP MLA from Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh is the accused, had shamed the country and that justice would be ensured in all the cases.
Javadekar also demanded an apology from senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, noting that Bar Association of Jammu president B S Slahia, who had led the public protests against the police probe, was his poll agent in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Meanwhile, the  Congress today dismissed the BJP’s demand of sacking its Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir for allegedly terming the Kathua rape and murder case as “motivated”, saying it was because of his demand that the inquiry into the matter had seen some progress initially.
The Congress also termed as “misleading” the BJP’s talk of its two State Ministers resigning from their posts for taking part in a protest march supporting those accused of raping and killing the eight-year-old girl.
The opposition party claimed that it was because of the pressure exerted by the people and the protest march led by party chief Rahul Gandhi that saw the ruling BJP take the action against its ministers.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said the party did not defend its Karnataka leader Dinesh Gundurao’s remark that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath be shown slippers over Kathua and Unnao rape cases if he entered the State.
Khera said Gundurao was a father of two and like everybody else he was “deeply disturbed by what is happening to daughters in the country”.
The BJP today released a video purportedly showing Mir calling the police probe in the Kathua case as motivated and defending the public protests against it. The saffron party demanded that Gandhi sack him.
“Mir sahab has clearly said that the video they are talking about is one or one-and-half months old because of Mir sahab’s demand that there was some progress, action in the case,” Khera told reporters here.
“So, the talk of sacking (by the BJP) someone is misleading. Today, in fact, they (the BJP) should have kept quite. Today people are asking them questions, who are they (the BJP) to ask questions,” he asked.
Hitting back at the BJP over the rape incidents, Khera accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of providing merely a “lip service” and of taking time to respond to them.
Khera claimed that the two Jammu and Kashmir Ministers, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, had to resign due to pressure.
“You removed two Ministers, that too in the wake of pressure… But why Ajay Singh Bisht, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, was not removed?”, he asked.
“Everywhere you have these ghastly stories, barbarism of the worst kind. Everybody’s blood boils today,” he added.
Khera also played down as “noora kushti” (fixed match) the BJP’s allegation that some AAP workers had sported saffron “gamchas” and raised provocative slogans in front of a mosque in Delhi during a Ram Navami procession to instigate riots.
“We have been talking about their noora kushti (fixed match) since the time the AAP was formed. Time and again we get to see how they play politics complementing each other,” he alleged. (PTI)