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You Were Never India’s Daughter

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“What did they gain by killing a kid?” asks 40-year-old Naseema Bibi, the foster mother of Asifa, as her voice breaks down due to poor cellular connectivity. Naseema, who lost both her daughters in an accident a few years ago, had adopted Asifa from her sister-in-law when Asifa was just an infant.

Though I couldn’t get a chance to talk to Naseema again and our conversation was limited, her question reverberated in my mind all night. I wonder if it ever struck those supporting the accused too?

The gruesome rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa shook the state of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018. The gory details of the crime came out in public after the crime branch filed a chargesheet against the accused that included a police official, a former revenue official, a juvenile and a few other men.

As per the chargesheet, Asifa was kidnapped and kept in a temple premise where she was starved, drugged, tortured, gang-raped, and strangulated. And no, that’s not all. She was shown mercy and left alive so that the accused Deepak Khajuria, a police official, could allegedly rape her “one last time”. Her head was then smashed with a stone to make sure she died.

Ironically, the same Deepak Khajuria was also a part of the search team that found Asifa’s body. The police initially tried to destroy the evidence, but as the protests sparked in the town, the case was handed over to the crime branch, who claimed that the motive behind this heinous crime was to scare the nomadic Bakerwal community away from their home.

What’s also shocking and disgusting is the fact that there have been repeated attempts to cover up the horrible incident using a communal blanket. People in Jammu have been asked to stand for the accused for the sake of their community and religion! Unbelievably, the honour of the accused has been linked with the honour of the community and nation.

And no, that’s not all. Even the Jammu Bar Association is defending the accused and has threatened Asifa’s lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat. The ones who are supposed to guard the law even tried preventing the police from filing the chargesheet on Monday.

The right-wing group, Hindu Ekta Manch took out a rally, attended by BJP ministers Chandra Prakash Gupta and Lal Singh, waving tirangas to support the accused.

“What if a girl has died? Many girls have died here,” BJP minister Lal Singh reportedly said in the rally.

This comes from a party which is the flag-bearer of the social campaign, Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao. This also comes from a party whose leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came out in December 2012, in support of Jyoti Singh aka Nirbhaya and called her Bharat ki Beti. Is Asifa not Bharat ki Beti for him? Or isn’t the survivor, who lost her father for demanding justice in Unnao, India’s daughter, either?

Or was it too convenient for our PM to speak against the Congress then, but totally inconvenient to speak against his own ministers now? Or does our PM also look at the victims just as his ministers do? Through the prism of religion?

Why is it so difficult for our PM and even us to register that the likes of the Hindu Ekta Manch don’t want us to look at Asifa as a victim of a heinous crime who needs our anger? They don’t want us to look at her as India’s daughter but as a Muslim girl who ‘got what she deserved’. They demanded Hindu unity to stand for the “honour of the accused”. They want us to divide Asifa and the other victims communally. They want us to support the rapists because they have raped “one of them”. They want to divide us on the binary of “us and them”. And all this in the name of Ram!

If Ram was a witness to this inhumanity, he would hang his head in shame.

And if they succeed in dividing us today, we’ll not just be failing Asifa but also all our daughters. Lest we have already decided that Asifa was not, and will never be, India’s daughter.

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  1. Sanket Bhoi

    Can’t believe this type of animals live in the form of humans among us!!!!
    BJP stop this hate propaganda…..insan hoke insan sa piyar nahi karte!!!!

  2. Neel Mani

    Please don’t get offended. But the matter of the fact is where are your posts when so many rape incident take place in India. What about Hindu woman being raped in Assam and other places. Did you voice the same concern at that point of time. If you did not , you don’t have right to comment and post such article which directly shows your inclination towards a particular religion. I do condemn the incident but just politicising a Muslim rape is not good.

    1. Mariyam

      The reason this post is here is because this heinous crime was done for the sole purpose of punishing the people of her community and her religion. And also, there was a police official involved in the crime and involved in trying to cover it up. If the same happened to a Hindu girl by a person of another religion, I’m sure it would get media coverage and BJP will take it into their own hands to make sure the criminals get punished. But in this case, they aren’t doing anything for the victim and actually saying that people should support the accused. That’s just appalling. And this post gives an accurate picture of how the minority religions and communities are treated in India. We apologise if the reality ‘bursts your bubble’ of how India is right now.

    2. Manu Singh

      How immature. You are again bringing the religious conflicts here. Have some sensitivity and at once try to think standing in other’s shoes.
      Rape is a rape, no matter which religion involved. Humanity is the top most of all these things. And ask yourself the questions you have asked above. What significant have you done for those women in India ?
      He can raise the voice for what he is seeing there and you can raise your voice what you see near to you and all of us can support each other because we all are standing for justice from different places. Discrimination on the basis of caste, class, religion is everywhere. If you didn’t, may be he faced it.
      Support the humanity and please don’t get into the trap of other things like religion, region, caste, class etc.

    3. Vaibhav Sunny Gupta

      Let me tell you why your logic is bull shit. There is a limit to patience, a limit till to how long we can believe in the system, that it could take its due course. There are so many wrongs in the case of Kathua that it shatters your beliefs, your patience and your humanity. Whenever you read the morning newspaper, there are always incidences like these, of rape, of torture, and of the system supporting the accused. But the outburst you witness now isn’t because of the fact that the previous incidences don’t shame us, it is because there’s a limit to what a person can endure. When it becomes too much to ignore, to divert your attention to someplace else, only then the outburst happens.
      You only scream when the pain is too much to bear inside.
      I hope you feel it.

    4. Achi De Jhatii

      I don’t mean no offence too,
      But was there also any case where your Hindu sisters were raped and instead of delivering justice, the accused is being supported by their own religious community to the point where they try to cover up the evidence?
      May the eyes of justice see no religion.
      Your on the wrong side dear!

  3. Himanshu Diwan

    women={Hindu, Muslim, Sikh…………}

  4. Anushree Vaidya

    You asked a very valid question!

  5. minhaj ahmad

    You know, nothing will happen, nothing, nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We all can do comments, uploads, protest and all.
    But we forget all of this pain, because it just for few days and then we will come in our daily routine, and because we have lots of work.
    If, we all are be very sensitive about our sisters, daughters safety, then after first rape of this country(after independence) OR after any riots OR after nirbhaiyya, not a single rape should be happened.
    We can’t sacrifice our time and money, we can’t face pain for helping all of our sisters and daughters who faced that pain just because of they are “female”.
    You know, our biggest social problem is, most of us are “Behiss”.
    When I think about all daughters and sisters, when I feel their pain. I feel hopeless and we can’t imagine their life after all of this.
    This society , this system is ” Behiss”. They don’t care at all. only meetings, paper work, statements, comments, discussions, press conference.
    And about the system, government, political parties, I can’t express my feelings, opinions here about them.
    Can we really do something for survivors?
    Will we really do something?
    Yes, just tell me, How & When?
    I really want to do?

  6. shakeel shaik

    RAM killed Vaali not unfairly but fairly just to preach the entire world that younger brother’s wife is just like one’s daughter and like maternal daughter or son’s wife like daughter so anyone who forcefully captures any daughter is a great sin so killing him is totally justified. That’s why Lord supported Sugreeva and killed Baali.
    AND they doing all this things for RAM

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