It is indeed about ‘Hindu’ men raping a ‘Muslim’ girl in a ‘temple’. It is about some more ‘Hindus’ supporting the criminals, coming out in protest demonstrations holding the national flag and chanting, ‘Jai Shree Ram!’ Some posts on the internet are asking us not to communalise the issue – to not make it about ‘Hindu’ men and a ‘Muslim’ girl but about ‘beasts attacking a hapless girl’. But by doing so, we will miss out on the graveness of the situation that is unfolding before us and it will lessen the intensity of our fight.
In the charge sheet filed by the J&K police, it was reported that the accused had planned the crime to evacuate the Bakarwal community (a nomadic tribe of Muslims) from the region. The eight-year-old was from the same community. Following the incident, there were protests taken out to protect the culprit which was openly supported by two BJP ministers.
When a child of his daughter’s age must have been screaming in pain, the accused was not disturbed. When such a sight fails to disturb someone, that person cannot be only a pervert but something within the person has also died and an alternative moral code has demonised the little girl in his eyes.
An article published in Scroll on VD Savarkar throws some light on this mentality. The article extensively quotes from the Hindutva ideologue’s book “Six Glorious Epochs”. In his book, Savarkar castigates Maratha ruler Shivaji for sending back the daughter-in-law of the Muslim ruler whom he had defeated. Savarkar defends rape as a political tool. Citing examples of ‘wild tribes’, ‘Muslim rulers’, he says, “these men married ladies of Hindu royal families and notables to increase the population of Muslims, to demographically conquer India.”
Here, Savarkar accuses the wives and daughters of Muslim rulers of being a direct or indirect part of the “atrocities committed by their male compatriots.” He further adds that these Muslim women were emboldened to perpetrate such crimes because they did not face retribution from Hindu men. Thus, when Shivaji sent back the daughter-in-law of the Muslim governor of Kalyan whom he had defeated, Savarkar calls the move ‘suicidal’.
And he appeals passionately,“Once they (Muslim rulers) are haunted with this dreadful apprehension that the Muslim women too, stand in the same predicament in case the Hindus win, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women.”
It is this ideology of revenge, of correcting the past (contradictory to the ideas of early Hinduism, needless to say!) that connects all the heinous crimes inflicted on Muslims and minorities in ‘new India’ under Modi. This is the ‘morale’ that gives some people the strength to commit such beastly acts in a sacred place of worship. The words of the father of the eight-year-old haunt us – that they had thought of looking everywhere but the temple because it was a sacred place of worship.
This ideology of correcting the past, of racial or religious superiority, combined with ugly perversion and inhumanity can only be fought by the people’s collective conscience rising up whenever it is called for. It is heartening to see many are raising moral questions and coming out to the streets disturbed. This alone can save us from entering into a phase like Nazi Germany – the mass psychosis which justified heinous crimes committed on Jews en masse. Each such movement will be a death nail in the coffin of this ideology. The ongoing outburst of anger by the people of this nation against such acts is a ray of hope in this darkness.
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.