Kathua, Unnao rape cases: Protests are being held at Bengaluru's Freedom Park
New Delhi: Demonstrations were held in several cities across India, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Goa and Bhopal on Sunday as public outrage over a spate of rape and murder of children spiral. Over the last two weeks, two cases have shaken the nation. Last Sunday, a 16-year-old, who was allegedly raped by a BJP lawmaker in Unnao, tried to commit suicide outside UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's house. The tipping point was the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua, where the chargesheet spoke of unspeakable brutality. A third -- the death of a 9-year-old girl in Surat, whose body was covered in over 80 wounds -- emerged on Sunday morning.
Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:
- Thousands joined in marches, carrying placards and forming human chains in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, and across Kerala. Protests were also held in Rajasthan's Ajmer, Gujarat's Surat, Punjab capital Chandigarh, and Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
- Nearly 2,000 protesters, including activists who participated in the "Not In My Name" protests last year, gathered at Parliament Street in the heart of Delhi. Swati Maliwal, the chief of Delhi Women's Commission, announced a hunger strike.
- In Mumbai, a section of Bollywood, including actor Priyanka Chopra and producer Ekta Kapoor asked fans to join the protests, which started at Carter Road in the posh Bandra area. "Everyone should come. Whatever religion, gender or belief you belong to. For humanity, for justice," Ekta Kapoor tweeted.
- In an open letter, a group of 49 former civil servants have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to the families of the children targeted in Kathua and Unnao and "seek their forgiveness".
- "The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight year old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into. In post-Independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our Government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble," the letter read.
- The unspeakable rape and murder of the 8-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua -- who belonged to a nomadic Muslim community -- outraged the country after details were exposed in a police chargesheet.
- The child was kidnapped on January 10. Over the next week, she was drugged, starved, repeatedly gangraped and then murdered. A police chargesheet also said before her head was bashed with a stone, one of the assailants - a police officer - had asked the killer to wait so he could rape the child for one last time.
- Days before the gory details emerged, another young girl from Unnao had tried to commit suicide outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath's house. She said she had been raped by BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brother a year ago.
- A day later, her father, who had been mercilessly thrashed for his refusal to withdraw the case, died. The lawmaker's brother was arrested in the case of assault.
- The Kathua case became heavily politicised and two BJP ministers from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's cabinet, who defended the accused, were shunted out.
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