SRINAGAR: The crisis in the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir over the Kathua rape and murder case was averted after two BJP ministers, who had participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch’s rally in support of the rape and murder accused, spoken against the police and demanded handing over of the probe to the CBI, resigned late on Friday night.
BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi told TNIE that Forest Minister Chaudhary Lal Singh and Minister for Commerce and Industries Chander Prakash Ganga submitted their resignation to the state party president.
He said the ministers have not resigned because they are guilty or involved. “They resigned as a negative campaign was launched against them.”
The two BJP ministers had participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch rally in Kathua in support of the rape and murder accused, who were arrested by the police.
They also spoke against the police investigation, terming the arrests as “jungle raaj” and assured participants of the rally that they would extend support to them in case they launched an agitation to demand the release of the accused and for handing over the case to the CBI.
The PDP had been pressing for the resignation of the two BJP ministers, and J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had convened an emergency meeting of PDP leaders in Srinagar on Saturday to discuss the Kathua case and civilian killings in Kashmir.
Sethi said the two ministers had never supported the accused and not targeted the victim family. “They had gone there to support the victim. They had only called for a fair investigation,” he said.
BJP State General Secretary (Org) Ashok Koul said the party has convened a legislators party meeting on Saturday to discuss the resignation. He said the legislators meeting would decide whether to accept the resignation or not.
Asked whether the two ministers had gone to attend the Hindu Ekta Manch rally on their own, Koul said, “No. They had gone on the party State high command’s direction”.
Sources close to Lal Singh said the party had sent the two ministers to Kathua to defuse the tension.
“They were also told to visit the place again as there was a large scale Muslim migration from the area,” said one of the sources.