Kathua rape case: Expelled NC leader from Jammu says Hindu first, need to fight ‘injustice’

The National Conference (NC) on Friday expelled a party leader from Jammu for being part of the Hindu Ekta Manch, set up to support the accused in the Kathua gangrape and murder case.

Shanti Swaroop, NC’s Hiranagar block president, claimed that the party was yet to inform him about the expulsion.

“But even if they have expelled me, I don’t mind. I am a Hindu first, then part of any party. It is my responsibility to fight injustice done to Hindus. This is why I became part of Hindu Ekta Manch,’’ he told The Indian Express.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said once Swaroop’s involvement came to notice, the party leadership expelled him without even serving a notice to explain.

Swaroop called the Manch “above party lines” and said that several other NC leaders and activists had joined protests called by the organisation. “After all, we have to stand with the Hindu society. Both PDP and NC leaders from Kashmir are against Hindus — they are giving Hindus a bad name,’’ he said.

Swaroop also said that while they want justice for the victim, police and the government “should not commit atrocities on Hindus”.

NC’s Jammu province chief Davender Rana said the party’s stand on the issue is clear: it wants strict action against the perpetrators of the crime and those who support them. “This is why we took action against a block president who had joined supporters of the accused,’’ he said. “It is a shame that there is even a debate on this issue. In our religion, a girl child is devi ka roop (image of a goddess) — at Vaishno Devi (shrine), when the priest comes out after aarti, he washes feet of girl children. A girl below 12 years is considered a goddess in our faith. No Hindu will ever support such a heinous crime committed against an eight-year-old.”

Meanwhile, J&K Congress found itself in a controversy after an apparently old statement by its state unit president G A Mir questioning the police probe surfaced on social media. In a tweet, Mir explained that he had made the statement “two months ago, when nothing was happening in this matter”, and it is being circulated now to mislead the people.

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