Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a midnight march at India Gate protesting against the Kathua and Unnao rape case incidents. The midnight candle-light vigil saw thousands participating including many from the general public who had come for an outing on Thursday night. Congress leaders and workers from Delhi and neighbouring areas, however, formed the bulk of the crowd.
The Congress president said the women of the country are afraid to go out today and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must start the job of Beti Bachao.
“We are here against crimes being committed against women, against rapes, violence and murder and the government must act on this. This is a national issue and not a political one,” Rahul Gandhi said.
The incidents in Unnao, where BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is booked for rape and Kathua, where a 8-year-old child was gangraped and murdered, has stirred masive outrage across the country.
“This is about our women. Thousands are present here including the common people and people from all parties. This situation in the country is such today that one after another incident of murder, rape and violence is taking place. We are standing here against that and we want the government to act,” the AICC president said.
The gathering also saw people raising slogans against the government and demanded swift action against the perpetrators.
The midnight candle-light vigil started near Man Singh Road section of India Gate as Congress leaders and top brass started gathering soon after 11:30 PM. Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra too joined the crowds.
Several Congress leaders were seen asking people in the candlelight march to observe a “silent” protest. Some people were seen having brought their children as well.
The Congress leaders present at the protest march to the India Gate included Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Ajay Maken, Sushmita Dev, Haroon Yusuf, Randeep Surjewala and Ambika Soni among others.
Earlier, on Thursday evening, Gandhi had tweeted announcing his plans for the midnight march, “Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does…”