Kathua Rape "Minor Incident", Says New J&K Deputy Chief Minister

On the day he was sworn in as the new Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Chief Minister, BJP's Kavinder Gupta said the Kathua rape and murder case was a "minor incident"

BJP's Kavinder Gupta takes oath as Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Chief Minister


  • Kavinder Gupta's comments have raised questions
  • The rejig was blamed on the massive criticism of previous ministers
  • Mr Gupta replaced Nirmal Singh as Deputy Chief Minister
New Delhi: Within an hour of a cabinet shuffle in Jammu and Kashmir today, new Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta debuted with a shocker on the Kathua eight-year-old's rape and murder that has shaken the country.

"Rasana is a chhoti si baat (minor issue)... We have to think this should never happen again and the child gets justice. There are many challenges like this facing the government. We should not give Rasana so much bhaav (importance)," Mr Gupta told reporters.

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.

All eight accused are Hindu while the little girl belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe.

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.
kathua rape

The eight-year-old was kidnapped, drugged, gang-raped and murdered in Kathua, the police have said

As public outrage spiralled over details of the child's final days in a police chargesheet, two ministers, Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash, were forced to resign for attending the Hindu Ekta Manch rally. Mr Jasrotia, unlike his colleagues, didn't make any speech at that protest but he did stand with them.BJP leader Ram Madhav asserted that the cabinet changes had no connection with Kathua. "Our government has completed three years in power so we decided to have a reshuffle in the cabinet and give an opportunity to new faces," he told reporters.

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.

Apart from him, state BJP chief Sat Paul Sharma and six others were sworn in as ministers. Two are from Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party (PDP).