Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday night issued a statement assuring that her government would bring a law to make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors.
On a day that mass outrage was expressed all across India over the brutal rape and murder of eight-year-old at Kathua near Jammu, the state's chief minister tweeted the following
"I want to assure the entire nation that I stand committed not just to ensure justice for the victim but also seek exemplary punishment for those responsible for a crime whose brutal savagery has shamed humanity."
"We will never ever let another child suffer in this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors, so that 8-year-old case becomes the last."
Earlier in the day, she had tweeted that "the law wouldn't be obstructed by the irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people", referring to the fringe groups that have held communally-toned protests and demanded a CBI inquiry alleging that the Jammu and Kashmir Police had arrested the accused under political pressure.
"The Law will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions & statements of a group of people. Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on the fast track & justice will be delivered.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party planned a midnight candle-light march to India Gate in New Delhi to demand justice for the minor rape victi.
"Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does. Join me in a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice", wrote the Congress president.
On Monday, the chargesheet that was filed in the case had revealed horrific details of how the 8-year-old was raped and murdered. The depraved crime was planned as a conspiracy to scare the nomadic Bakarwal community to which she belonged into moving away from the Rasana village near Kathua, the chargesheet revealed.
The chargesheet had been filed after immense difficulty as local lawyers had created a stir demanding a CBI inquiry causing an FIR to be filed against them. Nine persons, including four police personnel were arrested following the chargesheet being filed.
Two BJP ministers in the J&K government are alleged to have supported fringe groups such as the Hindu Ekta Manch in their demand for a CBI probe, while a Hindu Ekta Manch leader also disclosed that two former lawmakers from the Congress party had offered the group their support.