The PDP, which is in power in Jammu and Kashmir, in alliance with the BJP, held a news conference on Saturday after reviewing its alliance following the horrific Kathua rape and murder which has shaken the consciousness of the Nation.
Addressing mediapersons, PDP J&K minister Naeem Akhtar said that it had taken stock of the three years of the alliance, the goal of which was to bring normalcy to the state and change the narrative of the state by fixing people's problems.
"On the civilian problems, and on the Kathua rape and murder, the party wants to thank the media for the way they brought people together for this wound to Kashmir and how all citizens of this country made the victim their own and raised their voices by considering her their daughter."
He spoke about the attempt that was made to raise doubt over the probe into the case:
"And we, the state... the investigation that was done and the attempt that was made to subvert it and damage its credibility... people came together to help uphold it. We feel the party will fail in its duty if it fails to thank the people of this great country."
He requested the people of India to help Kashmir with its other issues as well:
"We expect the same attitude of the people of the country, irrespective of ideological affiliations and parties... We would try and expect that the wounds that have been inflicted on other people of this state, including the youth, be seen as a humanitarian issue and the country help us salve those wounds."
Akhtar remarked that a new bond had been created with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the people from the other states:
"A new bond has been created with Jammu and Kashmir and the whole country has identified itself with the people of this state. And if we consider that all the people living in the state are our own people, the process of reconciliation can be taken forward."
When asked about the alliance with the BJP that had looked to be at breaking point before the resignations of the two BJP J&K ministers who had backed the pro-rapist protests and ensuing demand for the CBI to take over the case, Akhtar said:
"We appreciate our alliance partner BJP for helping us. To PM Modi, Home Minister, Ram Madhav, Amit Shah and others for their role and for taking resignations of the two ministers whose role wasn't positive, that was also a positive measure. And in the same way, if the BJP and PDP continue resolving their issues, then I feel there's no substitute to this alliance."
He was also asked about the process to ensure justice in the case:
"I won't comment on it as it is an administrative matter but we will strive that the victim gets justice as soon as possible and that the perpetrators get the strictest punishment and it is also the commitment of the CM that we will bring a law that will make death mandatory for those who rape minors."
"The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is monitoring the case, and whatever the requirement is that the process of delivery of justice is uninterrupted, we will do it."
Akhtar also praised the probe that was conducted by the J&K crime branch:
"We appreciate the way the investigation was conducted. Elsewhere, when Jessica Lal or Nirbhaya cases happened, people had to agitate to get the culprits arrested. Here, the narrative came out and people found out the day that the chargesheet came. This is a difference in implementing law and in investigation in the history of this country in these heinous crimes."
He appealed to the people of India to help the state with its other problems:
"The salve of the wound is that the entire country, which we are part of because it's a democracy and pluralistic... we expect the people of this country, the way they reached out and expressed solidarity with us... the same way they also help us in addressing the pain in Jammu and Kashmir."
"We believe that till the people don't understand the pain of Jammu and Kashmir till then the pain won't be addressed and we expect that the people are with us."
On Friday, the Prime Minister had broken his silence on the Kathua and Unnao rapes and assured that the government of India would fulfill its responsibility in ensuring that justice is delivered to the victims. Shortly after that, the two ministers who had backed the pro-rapist protests resigned, and the CBI also arrested the rape-accused BJP MLA in the Unnao rape case.
The ministers who resigned have, however, defended their actions and refused to recall their demand for CBI inquiry.
Speaking to mediapersons, one of the ministers, Chandra Prakash Ganga, said:
"We never did politics for ministership or electoral gain. We did it for the people of this country. We know the situation in J&K. India should remain alive here. I've handed in my resignation to the chief minister. I will continue in the party as a worker."