NEW DELHI: The Congress today demanded the dismissal of Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta for calling the Kathua rape and murder case a minor incident and said his remark displayed the mindset of the BJP and its leaders.
Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on the issue and urged him to ensure that Gupta was sacked.
"It is an absolute blasphemous statement that has come from the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on the Kathua rape.
Such casualness is the very reason, is the very mindset why young children and women are not safe in this country and if it comes from a person who is holding an important position in the government and administration, it is even more blasphemous and we condemn his statement," she said.
The Congress expected the prime minister, his party and allied political outfits to take the matter up seriously, she said.
"He (Gupta) should step down or he should be sacked from his position for such an insensitive statement on a case which has rocked the nation," she told reporters.
Dev, who is also the Mahila Congress chief, said she was shocked to see that leaders who had supported the alleged accused in the murder and rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua had been placed in the state ministry in a reshuffle yesterday.
"That shows a casual attitude, that shows the insensitive attitude and the negligent attitude of the BJP and the parties who have allied with the BJP," she said.
The Congress also asked what message the BJP was trying to convey by promoting supporters of the Kathua accused.
She said despite the anxiety and dissatisfaction in the minds of the people which had led to a candle-lit march at India Gate and protests by various apolitical groups, the BJP had completely ignored the sentiments.
On the alleged remarks of BJP's Ballia MLA that rape cases were increasing because of the use of mobile phones, Dev said crimes against women would rise and not fall if legislators spoke in this manner.
She said the MLA was not only "ignorant but insensitive" and it was because of such people that crimes against women were not taken up seriously.
"An impression goes among perpetrators of the crime that this is all right. This must stop," she said.
Asked about BJP MP Satish Gautam's statement that Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah's photograph should be removed from the Aligarh Muslim University, the Congress leader alleged it was a diversionary tactic, because development, woman security and health services of children were not on the agenda of the BJP.
"This is yet another diversionary tactic to divert the minds of the people from real issues to polarise issues rather than address those that impact the common man of India," she said.
After being sworn in as the deputy chief minister yesterday, Gupta had said the Kathua case was a "minor incident".