Another instance of sexual violence perpetrated on two women has come forward. What is saddening is the fact that they have also been denied the agency and humility to be treated as people, and not just as ‘news pieces’.
The Kathua and Unnao rape cases prove that women, have yet again, lost the battle against misogyny. In the Unnao case, the rape survivor’s father has died in police custody while the accused, a BJP MLA, has been seen smiling on camera. In Kathua, the accused have been shielded in communal colours by the Hindu Ekta Manch and others, and protests marches were carried out – in favour of the rapists.
Who gave the right to these men to put their political agendas in a woman’s vagina? A voice inside tells me that three months back, as I was sitting in my cocoon of a Hindu identity, an 8-year-old girl was drugged, and two grown men took turns to force themselves upon her. After being subjected to this violence, she was strangulated with her own clothes by these men. One of these men then joined the search for the girl because he was a law enforcer, a policeman.
Then, Kashmir’s lawmakers rushed to save the criminal, a lawmaker, and hundreds came out in support of this barbarian – mind you, this included women too – since he was a Hindu. The Hindu Ekta Manch waved a tricolour in support of this man in Jammu and Kashmir. The Bar Association obstructed the police from filing a chargesheet, delaying the process. The police too have already taken part in marring the investigation because of political coercion, laying all the cards down for the abject lack of justice for an 8-year-old whose life was put on the line to “teach the Bakarwal community a lesson and scare them away from Rasana village.”
The sinister ways in which barbarity was unleashed on the 8-year-old should remind anyone of the inhumanity to which the December 16 Delhi gang-rape survivor lost her life. Only, the Kathua victim’s perpetrators seem to have planned every detail of their assault with horrifying precision. Why then does it not make our hearts bleed like it did, five years back? Why does a little girl have to go through the ordeal of her existence being bifurcated by communal colours?
Unnao saw another woman being raped and the loss of her father in custody. The BJP MLA Sengar had allegedly been inflicting sexual violence on the minor since June last year, and the coverage was only been given after she tried to commit suicide in front of Yogi Adityanath’s house. And if that was not enough, her father was beaten to death by the police personnel for not withdrawing his daughter’s case. Have we failed our women so badly that we now extract communal hatred and political manoeuvres with sexual violence?
What took our Prime Minister so long to speak up? And why was he so shoddy about it? If you’re going to tell me that the Prime Minister does not have an obligation to comment on every issue, and he should not speak up, I don’t know what to say. A religion/communal-based virulent hate crime has occurred, with two of his party members involved in one crime solely based on religious propaganda. He cannot stay mum.
The BJP has yet again, adopted a policy of both noise and silence, where the noise is in favour of the two barbarians, each politically protected enough to exercise control over the entire system – thereby making a mockery of whatever India has promised its minorities. As this mockery further enfolds, mocking the legislative system altogether, we can do nothing about it yet again.
We’re powerless, and I wish we were not apathetic enough to let a child from a vulnerable minority and a young Dalit woman down by the system designed to protect them. I cannot point at the failure of the government, because it has been on the juggernaut towards failure for years now. This is the failure of empathy, the dissuading of a family’s rights, the compromise of the security of little girls and women based on what religion, caste or creed they come from. This is the sheer mockery of equality replaced with fake jingoism. I wonder who put a label of caste and creed on rape.
The Justice Verma Committee Report, which was filled with fantastic ideas on how to make cohesive policy changes to help improve the terrible condition of women’s safety in India, was never implemented in its whole spirit. I wonder where that spirit died down the line. Then, people were full of anger and frustration; now, people are full of politics and vengeance. Then, people shouted for the safety of women; now, people are shouting communalism. In all of this, women have lost again.