Is Communal Tension The Only Reason Behind The Kathua Rape And Murder?

Posted by bhavna jha
April 22, 2018

An 8-year old girl was raped and murdered for the sake of maintaining the pride and superiority of a community and we are busy celebrating Indian Premier League (IPL). A young girl who ought to have enjoyed her childhood with her friends in the garden, catching butterflies and jumping all around with joy, happiness and fervour succumbed to ruthless torture, and we flaunt our Democratic freedom!

India saw yet another dreadful and outrageous episode of sexual violence perpetrated against an innocent girl by brutal men, that not only stunned the entire nation but challenged the sanity of mankind. Rape cases have become so normal in India that it would really be a miracle if a day passes by without news about it.

Women have always been treated as dolls and objects of indulgence and are nothing more than an oppressed puppet whose actions are determined by the prime authority i.e., a ‘Powerful Male Figure’. Increasing number of crimes against women is truly an exasperating trend and has compelled me to dig into its causes. It once again aroused this question – what is the reason? The answer to it lies in the conservative mindset of the male-dominated society, who, in order to, escape the guilt, blame women for their sufferings. Men, term themselves to be ‘the responsible citizens’ of the nation and thus define their actions as a method ‘to teach a lesson to the uncontrollable and modern girls who instigate rapists by wearing skin-showing dresses’.

Whenever a woman is born, she brings a ‘financial burden’ for her family, she is merely a ‘bojh’, but as soon as something undesirable happens with her then that becomes a matter of shame for the family members as women embody a family and community’s ‘izzat’, or honour. And therefore, the garments they wear, where they go, at what time, with whom, must be controlled for fear that they bring disgrace through inadmissible conduct. For instance, being seen with a man who isn’t a relative, smoking, drinking, moving, wearing revealing clothes or being out after dim.

No one can ever forget that horrific winter night of 2012 that led to several widespread protests and rallies but if women believed that the 2012 gang rape would introduce a more dynamic male attitude then they were absolutely wrong. In Indian society, still, a woman is not allowed to do anything of her choice. The only responsibility of men, who are the ‘saviors’ is incrimination. “Women should not venture out with men who are not relatives,” said politician Abu Asim Azmi in 2014, in answer to a question about rising numbers of rapes. Azmi also said: “The more nudity, the more fashionable a girl is considered. Ants will swarm the place where sugar is.” Even if we agree with their words, then can these ‘flag-bearers’ of Indian tradition give the reason behind the little girl’s rape. Can they state how a young girl ‘provoked’ the rapists?

The male-dominated society has always justified its position and this time they have given this heinous crime a ‘communal shade’. The plan was devised by the Hindus living in the Kathua area as a way to terrorize the Bakarawals ( the community to which Asifa belonged). Suspects told investigators that the major motive had been to drive Asifa’s nomadic community out of the area, and, to fulfill this motive they selected Asifa as she was ‘a soft target’. Girls like Asifa suffer a dual discrimination as they have two minority tags attached to them, one is that of being a woman and, second is that of belonging to a minority community. As per the report by the ‘gulfnews.com’, Talib Hussain, a Bakarwal leader said that Sanji Ram, the temple’s custodian was known to misbehave with Bakarwal women. “When I was young, I remember the fear Sanji Ram’s name invoked in Muslim women,” says Hussain.

The ill-treatment and unjust behaviour meted out to a woman belonging to a minority community is really unimaginable. They undergo a double dose of discrimination which is extremely direful. The misogynist communal ideology has degraded the status of women and is the biggest cause of the injustices levelled at them. People are defending the accused in the name of religion and this is really ignominious for our country where we worship ‘devis’ and talk of integrity and universal brotherhood. It is an irony of fate that a temple has been used to rape, torture and murder a child and slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ are being used to defend the criminals. A religion never trains its followers to threaten humanity and treat someone as sub-human, instead every religion preaches peace and harmony. Masculinity, always, demonstrates its strength and courage by suppressing women.

Raping a young girl is a way to establish terror and display their hegemony. The sad plight of the confined and exploited woman continues throughout her life. She is a ‘commodity’ for a man to enjoy and a medium to expose his superiority. And a woman has to obey ‘her man’ because the tragedy of womanhood in India is that ‘resist’ is a taboo. Revolts start only after she gets that unwanted label of being the ‘Nation’s daughter’ and she has to pay a huge cost for getting that ‘tag’. Social media protests against rape cases won’t work rather these issues demand immediate attention. We should start taking measures from our own house itself, where a male child should be taught to respect women instead of humiliating them. He should be made aware of this fact that he is in no way superior to his sister, and his mother is in no way inferior to his father, and if this happens, then that can only make a huge difference!