Lal Singh’s participation in Bharat Jodo Yatra triggers controversy

Congress leader resigns in protest, says former minister defended rapists of young Kathua girl

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Advocate Deepika Pushkar Nath and Choudhary Lal Singh
Advocate Deepika Pushkar Nath (left) and Choudhary Lal Singh (right)

JAMMU — A major controversy has erupted over the participation of former minister Lal Singh in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra with a lawyer, who was at the forefront of a campaign to seek justice for eight-year-old Kathua child gang-raped and murdered in 2018, resigning from the Congress on Tuesday over allowing Singh to participate in the Yatra, which will enter Jammu & Kashmir this week.

In a series of tweets, as per the news agency KNO, Advocate Deepika Pushkar Nath announced her resignation from the party, saying Lal Singh defended the rapists of the girl and divided the entire Jammu & Kashmir to protect the rapists.

“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 for sabotaging the Kathua rape case in 2018 by brazenly defending rapists,” Deepika said in a tweet.

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Deepika, who was also spokesperson of the J&K unit of Congress, said Lal Singh divided the entire region of Jammu & Kashmir to protect the rapists and Bharat Jodo Yatra is ideologically opposed to the actions of the former minister. “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,” she wrote.

Lal Singh along with Chandra Prakash Ganga was forced to resign from the Mehbooba Mufti-led council of ministers on April 13, 2018, over their participation in a rally in support of Kathua rapists. After his ouster from the cabinet, Singh had led a massive campaign to seek a CBI probe in Kathua rape and murder case, saying this was a conspiracy to defame the entire Dogra community.

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J&K Police had then registered an FIR against the brother of Lal Singh for using abusive language against then-Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti during a rally in Kathua.

In January 2018, an eight-year-old nomadic Muslim girl in Rasana village of Kathua was kidnapped and raped in captivity after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.

The resignation of Deepika Singh would put Congress in a tight spot and it would be interesting to watch whether the party would allow Singh to join the Yatra.

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