An eight-year-old girl was gang-raped in a temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua region before being strangled with her own scarf.
Deepak Khajuria, the police official, who was involved in her search, also happened to be one of the men who raped her one last time before she was killed. On the arrest of all the accused, Chandra Prakash Ganga, one of the ministers in the J&K government, deemed the arrest as “jungle raj”, and asked, “Why such a hullabaloo on the death of this one girl… many such girls have died here.”
While we were trying to stomach this news, a nine-year-old girl was reportedly gang-raped in Surat. Her body was found with 86 injury marks suffered over a period of at least eight days.
Another child, a primary class student was gang-raped and set on fire in central Assam’s Nagaon district by a 21-year-old boy and two other juveniles.
How do these ruthless savages see a child and get so consumed by lust? How is a nine-year-old, a three-year-old or even a barely a few months old baby asking for it? Rape has no religion, no caste, and no nationality.
We still haven’t managed to forget Nirbhaya and the thousands who’ve suffered horribly. The trauma of such a painful ordeal is still as fresh as an open wound. But before we can tend to one, another wound finds its way.
When did something as disgusting and horrid as rape become a shield in the name of religion and politics? An 18-year-old girl raped by BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brother, tried to end her life outside Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath’s house after she was denied justice. Her father who stood by her and refused to withdraw the case, was mercilessly flogged by the lawmakers’ brother and eventually died in police custody.
What’s even more repugnant is that Sengar wasn’t taken into custody until the high court’s stinging indictment of the state police. It is gut-wrenching to know that the girl was lured into his office by a woman named Shashi Singh who stood outside the room the entire time.
The law is meant to protect and defend the innocent against heinous criminals, but the question here is, who is it actually protecting and defending?
According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s annual report in 2013, 24,923 rape cases were reported in India, and this number has been increasing ever since.
No religion or culture in its true form preaches that fanaticism and bigotry are the way to impose one’s extremist views on others. The nauseating reason behind the rape in Kathua was to inculcate a sense of deep fear, in order keep the Muslim Bakarwala community out from the Hindu area in J&K. The girl’s family was threatened with dire consequences if they tried to bury her body, as it was a Muslim child’s body in a Hindu land. Is this how low people can stoop in the name of religion?
Personal interpretation of a religion is the most malignant and detrimental form of butchery and annihilation.
A friend who had volunteered for an NGO which helped rape survivors, stated that one of the cases she came across had an eight-month-old baby who was raped and was bleeding profusely. Despite pleading and asking her parents to lodge a formal complaint with the police, they denied doing so, saying that, “At such a tender age this has happened, if we report this then no one is going to marry her in the future.”
Many rural families or families belonging to lower stature do not report such crimes to avoid the social stigma of losing their respect. They also do not report them due to the fear that no one is going to marry their daughters. Some even go to the extent of abandoning them.
Very recently, I came across a short video compiled by some reporters on the “rape culture” in rural Haryana. Men and women as old as 80 and as young as eight had the same response – it’s the girl’s or the woman’s fault. The video made me sick. One of the boys who seemed no older than 14 or 15 years, with a very amused look and a slight grin on his face, said that, “If a girl smiles at a boy then it gives him the wrong idea and it provokes them to do something.”
As shocked and disgusted I was with this reaction, I realized that this is where the community is going wrong. The foundation of what is right and what is wrong is so skewed by the society, by their own elders, that when asked such a question, this is what their unbiased response according to their upbringing is going to be.
When something as atrocious and barbaric as rape happens, it’s not the victim who should be ashamed; it’s the entire race of humanity which should be ashamed. Ashamed to contribute to an upbringing where women will always be seen as the weaker sex and deserving of callous behaviour, where even today, if a woman walks alone, she will be considered at fault for being out on her own.
I am ashamed that we choose and vote for ministers, legislators who feel no remorse in making comments as ghastly as “boys will be boys” or “rape by two men is not gangrape” or something as baseless and absurd as “rapes occur in India, not Bharat.”
I am ashamed that people like the ex-Commissioner of Police, Bangalore, HT Sangliyana exist, who during an award ceremony in Bangalore, where a number of women were being honoured for their notable contributions to the state said, “If Nirbhaya’s mother has such a good physique, I can imagine how beautiful Nirbhaya would have been.”
If a surge of fear has to be embedded, then let this fear be what makes men think a hundred thousand times before committing a gruesome crime like this. Let the only religion, in this case, be humanity.
The difference between humans and animals is that we can self-reflect. We make decisions, which are mostly driven by reason, and logic, which in the case of animals, is driven by pure instinct. But as time is passing by, people are turning into horrid beasts, driven completely by power-hungry instincts. In comparison to them, animals seem more compassionate.
We are deteriorating in terms of humane value and humanity. Religion, caste, and politics as a virus, have become so deeply rooted in our system that it’s very difficult to find a cure and get rid of it. It’s like cancer, spreading throughout, until the body finally gives up.
How long will it take for us to wake up and stop adjusting to every situation? If this doesn’t infuriate you and burns deep within your soul, I don’t know what will!
Be uncomfortable, raise your voice, it is your god damn right!