- "How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil?" Rahul Gandhi tweeted
- Minister VK Singh had also added his voice to the spiraling outrage
- 8-year-old was gang-raped repeatedly by group including police officers
Rahul Gandhi's sister Priyanka Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra were also among hundreds of Congress leaders and workers present at the march to India Gate, which was under a huge security cover.
"We want the government to take action. Wherever we see, woman and children are getting raped and murdered. We want the government to resolve this matter. This is a national matter, not political. It concerns the women of this country. The government should act on the atrocities against the women in the country," Rahul Gandhi, 47, told reporters.
Earlier in the evening, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, asking people to join him for "a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice."
During the march, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, saying, "The government is sleeping and so at this time the Congress will have to wake them up. PM had given a slogan 'Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao' and it is in his regime that our girls are being raped."
The BJP, condemning the march by the Congress, called it a "fashion walk." BJP's Vaibhav Aggarwal said "people in the march are clicking selfies".
The Congress president had been called out on social media for not speaking up even as the party's leaders in Jammu appeared to back protests in support of those arrested in the little girls killing.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister VK Singh had also added his voice to the spiraling outrage over the 8-year-old's gang-rape and murder. "We have failed [her] as humans. But she will not be denied justice," tweeted the former army chief, the first minister in the BJP-led central government to talk about justice for the child who suffered unspeakable cruelty in her last few days.
The response of the BJP and the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir has been largely political in what has become the trigger for communal polarisation.
Another union minister Jitendra Singh, who represents a part of Kathua in parliament, had last month said, "those who have not done anything wrong should be given justice", backing demands for a CBI inquiry from those who support the arrested men.
The girl was kidnapped when she was grazing horses near her home on January 10, kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days by a group that included police officers. She was drugged and not given food the entire time. Just before her head was bashed in with a rock, one of the police officers asked the killer to wait so he could rape the child one more time, according to the police charge-sheet submitted in court.
Among the eight arrested men is a retired revenue department official who planned the crime to instill fear among the Bakherwal nomads - the girl was one of them - and drive them out of the Rassana area. They were a small group of Muslim families living in a Hindu-dominated area.
All this week, Kuldeep Singh Sengar has strutted around denying the accusation, disparaging the girl and her family and hitting out at the media. During that time, his brother Atul Singh was arrested for a brutal assault on the girl's father, who was not just arrested with severe wounds on his body but who died on Monday in custody.