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Friday, September 22, 2023

J&K Congress leader quits, cites Kathua rape in fiery post

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Congress spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath on Tuesday resigned from the party, citing its decision to “allow” former minister Lal Singh to join the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra which will enter the Union territory later this week.

Ms Nath said she is leaving the party on ideological grounds as Mr Singh was responsible for sabotaging the 2018 Kathua rape case by “brazenly defending” the rapists of an eight-year-old nomadic girl.

Mr Singh, a two-time MP and three-time MLA, had switched from Congress to BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the PDP-BJP government which collapsed in June, 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.

Several months before the fall of the government, Mr Singh resigned from BJP and floated Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the Kathua rape accused in January 2018.

He had defended his participation in the rally stating that he was there to “defuse the situation”.

“In view of Ch Lal Singh’s proposal of joining @bharatjodo & @INCJammuKashmir allowing the same, I am left with no other option but to resign from @INCIndia(.) Lal Singh was responsible in sabotaging the Kathua rape case in 2018 by brazenly defending rapists.

“Lal Singh divided the entire region of Jammu & Kashmir to protect the rapists and @bharatjodo is ideologically opposite. On ideological grounds, I cannot share the party platform with such a person,” Ms Nath wrote on Twitter.

A lawyer by profession, Ms Nath took the parents of the victim to the high court at Jammu for monitoring of the investigation and also guided them to approach the Supreme Court for seeking transfer of the trial to Pathankot (Punjab).

Earlier in the day, AICC in-charge of J&K Rajni Patil told reporters here that any leader who believes in the ideology of Gandhi is welcome to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Responding to a question that Lal Singh’s joining the yatra might have a wrong impact, Patil said, “We are only focussed on our leader’s march. If he believes that Gandhi is bridging the gap between different religions and castes, he is welcome.” On the hoisting of national flag at Lal Chowk by Gandhi on January 30 when the yatra is scheduled to end, she said “the tricolour always flutters high in our party office there”.

“We are not moving with RSS agenda… We will unfurl the tricolour, which Gandhi is carrying from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, at our party office in Lal Chowk (instead of Clock Tower),” she said.

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