Kathua rape victim’s kin vote against ‘politics of hate’

Dinesh Manhotra

Tribune News Service

Rasana (Kathua), April 19

Like the panchayat election, family members of Rasana rape victim voted in this Hindu-dominated village, which is part of the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha constituency, on Thursday.

The polling booth for Rasana village was set up at Government School, Koothah, where the family members of the rape victim were fearlessly lined up locals to exercise their right to franchise.

“There is no question of any fear or coercion,” father of the victim told The Tribune, adding, “Like other residents of this village we were also approached by the workers of different parties during campaigning. However, we voted for the party of our own choice as it is our democratic right.” The Rasana victim’s family members had also actively participated in panchayat elections held in November last year.

Rasana village is part of the Kootah panchayat comprising over 1,200 families, of which 40 are nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals (Muslims).

“A vicious campaign has been launched by some people just to demonise the residents of the Kandi belt of Kathua district,”, Ranjana Devi, sarpanch of Kootah, told The Tribune, adding, “For decades, we have been living peacefully in this area and even after that gruesome incident there is complete harmony among all sections of the society.”

The sarpanch regretted that even after passing of more than a year, some politicians were still trying to create a division among the different sections of the society by repeatedly raking up the inhuman case on political platforms to reap benefits in their respective areas.

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