Jammu, Apr 19: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has praised the people of Jammu for upholding harmony and amity despite provocations and for standing up to demand justice for the eight-year-old girl brutally raped and killed in Kathua district. Speaking at a civic reception hosted for President Ram Nath Kovind last night, Mufti said the people of Jammu have always stood up for tolerant values and brotherhood for the past 30 years, and defeated the "nefarious" designs of miscreants.
President Kovind is on his maiden two-day visit to Jammu. Yesterday, he addressed the 6th convocation of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, when he condemned the rape and killing of the girl in Kathua as "heinous" and "shameful". The case has triggered nationwide outrage because of its brutality. People have protested on streets across India, including in Jammu, demanding justice for the girl from a nomadic community.
The girl had disappeared from a place near her house in Kathua on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the woods in the same area. She was allegedly held captive in a village temple for a week, during which she was sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
Referring to the disturbing case, Mufti said she was humbled to see every section of society, including students, women and children, standing up to demand justice for the girl.
"They stood up for justice, irrespective of religious affiliations, for the girl whom they said was their own daughter. I salute them for this and for defeating the nefarious designs of vested elements," the chief minister said.
"Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the incident shameful and sought punishment to the guilty," she said.
She said her government is duty-bound to provide justice. Mufti also praised the people of Jammu for accepting and sharing their resources and other facilities with the people leaving Kashmir, referring to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley during the peak of militancy.
"It's a rare example of amity which hardly finds any parallels in contemporary world," she added. Mufti thanked President Kovind for visiting the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh expressed gratitude to the president for accepting the state's invitation. He said people will benefit and learn from interacting with him.