Massive protests were held in various cities across India on Sunday against the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir and sexual assault on a teen in Uttar Pradesh state.
Protest marches were organized in the capital New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Indore, Ajmer, Surat, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram and other towns.
In Kathua, a minor girl from nomadic Muslim herder family was grazing the cattle when she was kidnapped in January. According to the charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir police in the case, the girl was gang raped thrice inside a temple in Hiranagar.
The girl was sedated, starved and gang-raped by a group of people which included police officers. A week later, her raped and mutilated body was found in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.
The rape and murder of the girl sparked uproar across India. Two ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who defended the accused, were forced to resign after massive outrage.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence over the issue and condemned the incident.
“I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice,” he said at an event in New Delhi.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl.
Thousands protest in capital
Thousands of people from various walks of life participated in a protest on the Parliament Street at the heart of New Delhi. They were holding placards demanding justice for the victims.
Renu Sharma, one of the participants, told Anadolu Agency: “These incidents show how unsafe our daughters are and politicians are discriminating on the basis of religion. This has to be stopped.”
In Mumbai, people were present in large numbers on the Carter Road to lodge their protest.
According to NDTV, Singer and music composer Vishal Dadlani joined the protests against the incidents. "Do not fall for the ruse to divide us on Hindu-Muslim lines. That's the legacy of the British," Dadlani was quoted as saying by NDTV.
People also gathered at Bengaluru's Richmond Town area demanding the government to take every possible action to stop such heinous crimes.
In central Indian city of Bhopal, people took out a silent march.
“It is necessary that we should make the government realize what they are doing in such cases,” said Ashmita Singh, a student in a private college.
"I am also here to lodge my protest against shameless Indian politicians, who are doing politics even on these incidents," Singh added.
Protest demonstrations were also witnessed in Chandigarh, Surat and other towns.
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