Within an hour of a cabinet shuffle in Jammu and Kashmir today, new deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Kavinder Gupta sparked a row on Monday by saying that the brutal Kathua rape and murder case that has triggered global outrage as a “small incident”.
“Kathua maamla ek choti si baat hai usko itni tuul deni nahi chahiye [The Kathua incident was a small thing, it shouldn’t have been given all this hype],” News 18 quoted Gupta as having said.
The comment was received with shock and disbelief after a revamp that was linked widely to the outrage over the BJP’s former ministers participating in a rally in support of the men arrested for kidnapping, drugging, gang-raping and murdering the child in Kathua’s Rasana village.
As speaker of the legislative assembly, Gupta had sparked another row by blaming the Rohingya refugees for the attack on Sunjwan army camp in February this year.
An eight-year-old girl, belonging to Bakerwal community, was abducted, brutally raped and tortured and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January.
However, Gupta spoke to Times Now later, claiming that his remarks were “misconstrued” and blamed the media for reporting his statements in the “wrong way”.
Questions were also raised over the inclusion in the cabinet of Rajiv Jasrotia, the BJP legislator from Kathua, who had participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch Rally in support of the rapist-killers.
2 BJP ministers removed in J&K for attending a pro-rapist rally & a MLA who is reported to have attended the same rally is promoted as a minister. Why are the BJP/ @MehboobaMufti confused about where they stand on the #Kathua rape?
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 30, 2018
Isn’t that Rajeev Jasrotia, MLA from Kathua? Isn’t he the part of the very same rally supporting the rape and murder accused which Ch. Lal Singh & C Ganga attended? Why were they asked to resign for this then if another one is made the minister? pic.twitter.com/pCz7iIu5x6
— Shuja-ul-haq (@ShujaUH) April 30, 2018
Kavinder Gupta, 59, an old Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hand, replaced Nirmal Singh as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s number 2. Mr Gupra joined the BJP’s ideological mentor RSS when he was 13. He was elected to the state assembly for the first time in 2014.