To Seek Justice For An 8-Year-Old, Hundreds Of Us Came Out On Bangalore’s Streets

Posted by Ubaidu Rahman in Gender-Based Violence
April 18, 2018

Yet again, a horrific rape incident united Indians to come out on the road and start seeking justice for an 8-year-old who was brutally killed, thanks to some of the ministers, who used this little girl as a political pawn to divide people on the basis of religion and kept blaming each other.

Protesters marching with a poster demanding justice for the Kathua rape victim and "all daughters of India".
It took almost 3 months for the media to make this a national issue. The public had to come out to seek justice. The way some ministers backed the rapists makes the case much more worse.

Protesters march with a banner demanding justice for the Kathua rape victim.

Even our beloved Prime Minister had to speak out.

 

A group of protesters standing with posters demanding justice for Kathua rape victim.
We started off this protest with around 30 people in Bangalore on the busy streets of Brigade Road, which is usually a shopping complex for the Bangaloreans here. To my surprise, around 800 people showed up by the end of the day, some holding placards, others raising slogans, etc.

We assembled at the war memorial on Brigade Road. We came out as responsible citizens seeking justice for an 8-year-old. We did not come here as some religious group, nor did we come here as representatives of any political parties. We just came here as humans first, showing faith in humanity.

Protesters lighting candles on a platform with posters of the Kathua rape victim.
What happened was horrible. People backing the rapists are even worse. I want nothing but death penalty for the rapists. We want the Prime Minister to actually take a stand and not just condemn it. We want him to take strict action right now. Here’s why:

In both cases, Prime Minister, it is your party that is in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you more than anyone else have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs.

Instead of owning up and making reparations, you had until Thursday last week chosen to remain silent, breaking your silence only when public outrage both in India and internationally reached a point when you could no longer ignore it. Being silent is yet another statement. You have failed to keep the women safe in our country, and by staying silent, you are creating an atmosphere where rapists can live without any fear.

Protesters standing with posters demanding action against rape.

To quote from the letter by 49 ex-civil servants, here’s something that you should hear:

Prime Minister , these two incidents are not just ordinary crimes where, with the passage of time, the wounds inflicted on our social fabric, on our body politic and the moral fibre of our society will heal  and it will soon be business as usual. This is a moment of existential crisis, a turning point – the way the Government responds now will determine whether we as a nation and as a republic have the capacity

to overcome the crisis of constitutional values, of governance and the ethical order within which we function.

And to this end we call upon you to do the following:

● Reach out to the families of the victims in Unnao and Kathua and seek their forgiveness on behalf of all of us.

● Fast-track the prosecution of the perpetrators in the Kathua case and request for a Court directed SIT in the Unnao case, without further ado

● In the memory of these innocent children and all other victims of hate crime, renew a pledge to offer special protection to Muslims, to Dalits, to members of other minority communities, to women and children so that they need not fear for their life and liberty and any threat to these will be extinguished with the full force of State authority.

● Take steps to remove from Government anyone who has been associated with hate crimes and hate speeches.

● Call for an All Party Meeting to deliberate on ways in which the phenomenon of hate crime can  be tackled socially, politically and administratively.

It is possible that even this may be too little too late but it will restore some sense of order and give hope that the free fall into anarchy can be arrested. We live in hope.


We hope to see the accused of this crime face the severest punishment they deserve. We are here demanding for justice. We will not let people to be divided on the basis of religions.

This is not the India that we grew up in. This is not the India that we want to leave behind for the generations to come.

Let’s make this place a better place for our girls to live in. We will be waiting for the day when “Beti Bachao” is no more just a tagline, because right now it’s more like a sign of warning they are issuing for girls in our country.

All we want is justice in the end. Thank you, Bangalore, for coming out in huge numbers.

 

All photos provided by author.