- Such incidents can't be part of civilised society, PM Narendra Modi said
- He promised to make sure that the culprits do not get away
- "As a country, as a society we all are ashamed of it," PM Modi said
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"I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice," PM Modi said at an event in the national capital. This is the first time that PM Modi has spoken on the two rapes of minors in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and Uttar Pradesh's Unnao where BJP leaders appeared to be backing the wrong side.
In the Unnao case, the Yogi Adityanath government has been blamed for trying to shield the BJP's influential legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar who was accused of raping a 16 year-old girl last year. Instead, the girl's father was beaten by the lawmaker's brother and sent to jail. He died on Monday.
A special team to probe her allegations was set up this week and quickly disbanded after the government decided to refer the case to the CBI. Kuldeep Singh Sengar was arrested on Friday evening on the orders of the Allahabad High Court which called the approach of state government's top law officer's "appalling".
The ruling coalition has been roundly criticised for its handling of the rape cases and also provoked civil society and celebrities to start a "I am Hindustan. I am ashamed" campaign.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi yesterday led a candlelight march to the India Gate monument in the heart of the capital to highlight the "unimaginable brutality". "When the government sleeps, the country's watchman sleeps... the Congress has the responsibility to wake him up," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had explained.
Mr Gandhi, who had earlier on Friday, called the Prime Minister's long silence "unacceptable", later thanked him for his remarks. "You said "our daughters will get justice". India wants to know: when?" he tweeted.
It was after the chilling details of the Kathua killing back in January emerged over the past week that the brutality of the crime hit the country. The eight-year-old girl, kidnapped by a group to allegedly drive out her Muslim Bakerwal community, was kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days before her head was bashed in.
The case was transferred to the state's crime branch after local cops tried to protect the accused by destroying evidence. When the special team started making the arresting, a local Hindu group supported by politicians supported the narrative that they were being framed.
Industries Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga and Forest Minister Lal Singh - the two BJP leaders who have sent their resignation letters to the party - were the most prominent faces from the BJP to defend the accused. "Why such a hullabaloo on the death of this one girl... many such girls have died here," Lal Singh had said.
Mehbooba Mufti's party was learnt to have been considering pulling out of the alliance if the BJP did not pull out its two ministers from her team. Omar Abdullah, leader of the opposition National Conference, thanked PM Modi for speaking out. "... and thank you (for) responding to the mood of the people and removing the ministers who supported the Kathua murderers," he tweeted.