Three months ago, in January, an 8-year-old girl named Asifa went missing in district Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. The girl belonged to a community of nomads and went missing while she was grazing her horses. 8 days later, her body was found in a tract of forest in the district. Upon autopsy, it was found that the girl had been raped and murdered.
Yes, an 8-year-old girl was raped and murdered. This was not something new though. Incidents like these are quite common in this great country of ours. Women, even children, fall prey to some monsters in the garb of humans living in our society. Does it not shame us, our country that such incidents are still happening in the 21st century, in a country which takes excessive pride in its 5000-year-old civilization? It does.
But as I’ve already mentioned above, this was not something new, for child abuse is rampant in our country.
If the rape and murder of 8-year-old little Asifa were not horrifying enough, what happened afterwards sends shivers down the spine.
The J&K police, after investigating the incident found an ex-bureaucrat and his son as the chief suspect in the case, along with four policemen who were complicit in the crime. As soon as these men were arrested, massive protests erupted in the Jammu region, calling for the immediate release of the criminals, and proclaiming them innocent of any wrongdoing. People marched in groups, carrying the national flag and raising slogans of Bharat Mata, and all this being done to absolve some child rapists of their heinous act.
As the investigation neared completion, it was found that the retired bureaucrat had allegedly hatched this plan to spread terror amongst the nomad ‘Bhakerwal’ community whose presence in the region was certainly not being welcomed by them.
After kidnapping the child, the perpetrators reportedly drugged and then repeatedly raped her for a period of 8 days.
The people who took it upon their conscience to defend these animals included women as well, who were marching with the national flag to get some rapists-murderers released.
What kind of patriotism is this which makes you so ignorant? What use is this fake love for the nation which paralyses your thought process and prevents you from distinguishing right from wrong?
How can such monsters be defended in the name of Bharat Mata?
While it has been 18 years since we entered the 21st century, the thought process of many people in our country is not even at par with the medieval period.
But as I have mentioned above, this case is not an isolated incidence of cruelty. Several girls are raped and killed in this country of ours every year, and every time we read such news, it makes us question our conscience and then we forget everything and move on.
Five-and-a-half years after ‘Nirbhaya’ was brutally assaulted and murdered in a moving bus in the national capital we don’t seem to have moved anywhere when it comes to the safety of women. The uproar created at that time was commendable and it did lead to the formation of some stringent laws, but that was the end of it. Rapes are still taking place, women are still as vulnerable as they were.
Keeping this particular incident in mind, it is high time that we focus our attention towards child abuse as well.
A society which can’t protect its women, and which harbours and nurtures and defends animals like the rapists-murderers of Asifa has essentially failed as a society. This is the bottom line.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.