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Congress' midnight protest march against Unnao, Kathua rape incidents: Rahul Gandhi says 'it is a national issue, not a political matter'

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi organised a candlelight march at New Delhi's India Gate for justice in Kathua and Unnao rape cases on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: April 15, 2018 16:23 IST ]
LIVE: Rahul Gandhi, Priyanaka Vadra join Congress'

LIVE: Rahul Gandhi, Priyanaka Vadra join Congress' candlelight march at India Gate against Kathua, Unnao rape cases; Cong workers chant anti-Modi slogans

Taking its protest over government's 'inaction' in Kathua and Unnao rape incidents to a next level, the Congress organised a candlelight protest in Delhi on Thursday-Friday midnight. Expressing anguish over the rape of 16-year-old in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao and rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, Rahul said,"Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does".

Confirming his participation in the vigil, party president Rahul Gandhi had appealed people to join the 'peaceful' protest march.

"Join me in a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice," he added.

As it Happened: 

01:02 am:  We are standing here the back to back incidents of violence against women and we want the government to act against such violence immediately: Rahul Gandhi at India Gate

01:00 am: We urge Modi ji to implement his mantra of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao: Rahul Gandhi

12:54 am: Rahul Gandhi's security detail tried to take him out of the crowd safely amid ruckus and scuffles, but he decided to stop and talk to media again from his car's roof.

12:50 am: We demand that the government act on the rape cases. Women in India are scared to step out on the roads. We want that the government act so that women can feel safe again: Rahul Gandhi at India Gate 

12:50 am: It is not a political matter, it is a national matter. I just want to say that the government must resolve an unsafe situation for women across the country: Rahul Gandhi at India Gate

12:40 am: Reports on the ground say Rahul Gandhi is about to leave after being mobbed by party workers, while Priyanka continues to battle with the crowd during the sit-in protest. She is recorded telling camerapersons off for requesting a byte.

12:30 am: Priyanka Vadra facing difficulty in reaching main protest area due to crowd and scuffles 

12:10 am: Congress workers and leaders blocked from reaching central area of India Gate.

12:05 am: Rahul Gandhi joins the protest at India Gate.

11:55 pm: Robert Vadra, Priyanka Vadra, Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Nafisa Ali present at the march. Rahul Gandhi expected to join shortly.

11:49 pm: Senior Congress leaders, social workers and common people throng at India Gate. A massive crowd witnessed between Mansingh Road and India Gate.

11:48 pm: The govt is sleeping and so at this time Congress will have to wake them up. PM had given a slogan 'Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao' and it's in his regime that our girls are being raped. He isn't taking action against his ministers who are trying to save the rape accused: Ghulam Nabi Azad at I

11:45 pm: India Tv - Heavy security at India Gate due to Congress candlelight march

Heavy security at India Gate due to Congress candlelight march

11:40 pm: The candle march is being taken out from Mansingh Road to India Gate in New Delhi. Rahul Gandhi is expected to join shortly.

11:35 pm: Congress leaders begin candlelight march at India Gate for justice to Kathua and Unnao rape victims.

11:30 pm: 

11:25 pm: 

11:00 pm: Rahul Gandhi's call for midnight march has received a warm response from party leaders who have started gathering at the party office. The march is likely to be held at India Gate at midnight

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi described the horrific Kathua case as an "unimaginable brutality" that cannot go unpunished, and wondered how anybody can seek to protect the culprits.He also lashed out at the politics being played over the crime.

"How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil," he asked, adding that the violence against the child was a crime against humanity. 

"It cannot go unpunished," he said on Twitter.

The main opposition party has also been targeting the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for failing to take action against party MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger who has been accused of raping a 16-year-old in Unnao in June last year.

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