Kathua & Unnao Rape Case: Smriti Irani Attacks Rahul Gandhi for Midnight March

AICC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addresses a press conference in New Delhi

"Dear Prime Minister, Thank you for breaking your long silence".

While the local local bar association held a bandh, the Valley saw protests demanding justice for the victim.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Wadra participated in a candlelight procession last night at India gate to focus attention on rapes and gender violence in the country. But certain sections of the party privately wondered the political rationale behind Gandhi's midnight vigil when the rest of the country was sleeping, thereby, liming its visibility and impact. Opposition's candle march was to show the outrage against the recent rape incidents happened in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh and Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

In Kathua, an 8-year-old nomadic Bakarwal tribal girl named Asifa was raped and murdered at the Devisthan temple.

Hitting back at the Prime Minister, who had lashed out at the Congress on Friday, Selja said the PM was only interested in doing politics over the legacy of the Dalit icon.

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Rahul Gandhi joined the protest around midnight. "India is waiting. #SpeakUp". "He isn't taking action against his ministers who are trying to save the rape accused", said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The candlelight protest on Thursday was called at a short notice, but it saw people converging at the India Gate in sizeable numbers to express their support. Thousands of members of a radical Hindu group with links to the ruling party have marched to demand the release of the seven men accused in the case.

In another case, BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly raping a minor girl in Unnao town of the state.

Both the Unnao and Kathua rape cases have a marked similarity in the sense that in both cases the assailants have been identified, yet justice is yet to be served. Speaking to the Times Network, the family also questioned the BJP's "Beti Bachao" slogan and slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who had attempted to "shield" the accused in the case.

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