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Rahul Gandhi leads midnight candlelight march over Unnao, Kathua minor rape cases

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

led a midnight candlenight march to the Gate here to protest the and minor rape cases with the party leaders alleging that the daughters of the country were not safe in the Modi regime.

Gandhi was joined by his sister and her husband Robert Vadra, as also scores of leaders, party workers and students, who shouted slogans against the and the state governments in and Jammu & and demanded urgent action against the perpetrators of two heinous gangrapes -- one in (UP) and the other in (J&K).

Several leaders, however, asked the people in the march to keep it a "silent" protest.

Some people were seen having brought their children as well.

The Congress leaders present at the protest march to the Gate, which in the past has seen a huge protest in the Nirbhaya rape case, included Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Ajay Maken, Sushmita Dev, Haroon Yusuf, and

Azad said the was sleeping and those facing the biggest threat were the daughters of the country during the current regime.

Several Congress leaders also poked fun at the Modi government's Beti Bachao slogan, saying the daughters were not safe in the country.

Announcing the march, Gandhi had tweeted in the evening, "Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does."

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had expressed anguish and shock on the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, and attacked the BJP government in UP for failing to act against its MLA, who is an accused in the rape case of a 17-year-old girl.

"How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil? What happened at #is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished. What have we become if we allow to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child?" he said.

The Kathua girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from a spot near her house on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area.

A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal rape and murder. The city's bar association has opposed the action against the accused and alleged that minority Dogras were being targeted.

Gandhi joined the protest near the Man Singh Road at 11.55 pm.

The police had barricaded all the routes leading to India Gate.

said, "Atrocities are being committed against women in the country and the government is sleeping. The BJP is not only involved directly, it is also protesting in favour of the culprits and stopping law enforcement agencies from doing their job. It is a sad state of affairs.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 00:20 IST