If The Rape And Murder In Kathua Doesn’t Jolt Our Conscience, Nothing Ever Will

A girl, just eight years old, was abducted, sedated, raped several times, and then murdered. In a gruesome criminal conspiracy unleashed in the Kathua town, we saw the most inhumane and barbaric act taking place. The minor girl, who belonged to the Bakarwal community, was held captive for days, repeatedly gang-raped, and then brutally murdered, as the investigations revealed. Imagining such levels of barbarism is horrifying, to say the least. The incident sent shock waves across the entire valley, soon after her strangled body was found near a garbage heap.

The moment I read the news I felt a shiver run down my spine. It was so disturbing that I couldn’t concentrate on my work the entire day. I expressed my grief and sorrow in an elegy, and while writing these stanzas, I was literally weeping over and again – imagining this little girl, the tribulations she went through and how her dead body was dumped in a garbage pit, mercilessly after being raped and murdered.

(Your grave yells aloud

Oh! Innocent girl let me hold you with care

What an extremeness of oppression it is

That a budding flower like you was crushed so ruthlessly)

While reading the chargesheet filed by the police, my hands trembled while scrolling down the page, which revealed the horrific episode – from her abduction till her murder. It revealed the conspiracy to threaten the community by using a minor girl to play such a dreadful game.

As per the chargesheet filed by the police, she was given sedatives – and for three days, she was raped several times by different men. Police say she would have been killed sooner had one man not insisted on waiting so that he could rape her ‘a final time’.

To ensure she was dead, her killers hit her twice on the head with a stone, according to the chargesheet filed by the police.

Despite the large-scale denouncement of this barbaric act, some are trying to shield the culprits by giving this criminal conspiracy a communal colour. The inhumane act should be condemned without affiliating it to any religion or tribe because it is against humanity, and it should be strictly condemned on humanitarian grounds. Those who were involved in the rape and murder of the 8-year-old girl deserve the most stringent punishment from the court of law. If such an incident doesn’t jolt our conscience, we as humans are as good as dead.

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 dial1098@childlineindia.org.in. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.