New Delhi [India], Apr. 13 (ANI): Stressing on the fact that the protest was not a political one but a national issue, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday urged the Centre to act against atrocities on women.

Talking to media at the India Gate here, where he and other senior Congress leaders are holding a midnight candlelight vigil to demand action in Unnao and Kathua rape cases, Gandhi said, “We want the government to act against atrocities on women. This is a national issue, not a political issue. You can see people across parties have joined.

“We want the government to investigate the matter. Women of India are afraid to walk out of their houses today. Wherever you see women are being raped and murdered. Women should at least feel safe. This is a matter of our women,” he added.

Expressing distress over the rape of 18-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district and gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, the Congress has organised the midnight march here and appealed everyone to join it.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was also at the venue, said the government is sleeping so it has become Congress’ duty to wake them up.

He also said ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ (Save the Daughter, Teach the Daughter) slogan given by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi meant nothing as he is not taking action against his ministers who are trying to save the rape accused.

A small incident occurred with Rahul’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was also at the venue along with her husband Robert Vadra.

Since scores of people were there, so she, amid pushing and shoving, yelled at the media and said, “Nobody will push each other. You should know the reason for which you are here. If you cannot behave go home. Now, all of you will silently walk till there.”

Congress leaders Ambika Soni, Salman Khurshid, Ajay Maken and others also participated in the march.

On April 8, the rape victim from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, along with her family members, tried to commit suicide in front of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow. Later, the victim’s father was taken into police custody from the location.

The matter intensified after the victim’s father allegedly died in the custody on April 9.

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is prime accused in the case and he is yet to be arrested.

On the other hand, an eight-year-old girl belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe in Kathua district was allegedly abducted, drugged, gangraped, tortured and killed in January.

Among the accused in the case are police officers and a retired government official. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.