Three months after 8 year old Asifa was gangraped and murdered, Indian media suddenly woke up to the gruesome horror. Fourth largest city of J&K, Kathua located in Jammu province has hit headlines across the world probably for the first time in its 2000-year old existence. By now the sordid details as mentioned in the charge sheet are in public domain and it is painful to recount the horror inflicted on 8 year old child.
When an 8 year old has been sexually mutilated and killed, no amount of words can describe the horror nor can any words be sufficient to condemn the perpetrators. The easiest way perhaps is to say a few words of condemnation and then wait for the news cycle to move on. For decades that is what we have done whenever shameful episodes of human behavior have confronted us. It is perhaps time to stop and question how everyone has reacted after the episode came to light. It is in examining our own behavior we might find that the psychopaths may be in jungles of Kathua but rest of the world hasn’t covered itself in glory either.
Let’s look at how the political class has reacted. Jammu unit of BJP facing tough electoral battle next year decided to jump on the issue and make it about ‘Jammu sentiment’ and how Jammu always gets discriminated against Kashmir valley. There is lot of truth to this allegation. Jammu indeed has been treated shoddily by all governments who focus solely on Kashmir and maintaining peace at any cost in the valley. However, Asifa’s case wasn’t about Jammu getting step motherly treatment. Asifa’s case was about 8-year-old child raped and killed mercilessly. Those who sought to conflate it with larger issue of Jammu’s discontent did disservice to both Jammu and little Asifa. BJP’s tallest leader in Jammu, Jitendra Singh, had promised CBI inquiry to the local population. No one knows why Jitendra Singh had no faith in state agencies when his own party is coalition partner in State Government. No one knows why BJP leaders of Jammu promised CBI enquiry when they could not prevail on Mehbooba Mufti to order CBI inquiry.
Mehbooba Mufti sensing this as an opportunity to claim back her lost constituency in valley refused to hand over the case to CBI. Instead she handed it over to Crime branch of J&K police. The Crime Branch did a commendable job in piecing together the narrative, but Mehbooba wasn’t worried about the result of investigation. She only wanted to tell her constituents that she is the boss and can stand up to BJP. Asifa really wasn’t on her mind either.
Rahul Gandhi who made a huge song and drama with his candle light vigil forgot that his party men support Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua which has been asking for CBI enquiry too. Why would Rahul Gandhi portray one face in Delhi and why would his congress men in Kathua be at the forefront of protests asking for CBI enquiry? Also, why would Rahul Gandhi suddenly remember candle light vigil while conveniently forgetting that in 2012 his party’s government was busy lathi charging young men and women during Nirbhaya protests?
Media did not pick up the story for three months and then suddenly like clockwork all of leftist liberal media jumped into the fray. The story they were covering however was not of Asifa and the limits of cruelty she faced. Suddenly the narrative was ‘Hindu Nationalists defend perpetrators of Rape’ as if all Hindus of India are out on the roads defending perpetrators. They forgot to mention that Hindu Ekta Manch at the forefront of protests is supported by both Congress and BJP in Kathua. They forgot to mention that thousands of Hindus were actually using all platforms available to them were asking for toughest possible punishment for rapists. One digital media portal went a step further. Ensuring that they get steady stream of ‘hits’ they likened Bakerwals to Dalits of J&K. Nothing could be further than the truth. Bakerwals are nomadic tribes and there is no history of traditional discrimination. But ‘dalit’ word sells so why not use it?
Last but not the least, lawyers who were preventing charge sheet from being filed. They had every opportunity to challenge the charge sheet through legitimate means in the court. All that could have been done after the perpetrators were interrogated. Why would they resort to hooliganism and ensure that Asifa’s case gets so muddled up and politicized that she would never get justice?
By all accounts, the Crime Branch of J&K police did round up a lot of people for interrogation, but from credible sources I am told that thorough investigation was done and they have finally nabbed the perpetrators only.
Words fail me when I think about criminals who robbed little Asifa of her dreams and of her life. They are psychopaths with no societal approval and I hope law of the land comes crushing on them for robbing innocence and childhood. And all those who find a child’ s mutilation a right moment for agenda peddling and vested interests are only a shade better than psychopaths who killed Asifa.