As A Hindu, As A Mother, As A Human Being, I Am Ashamed

Posted by Rimli Bhattacharya in Gender-Based Violence
April 16, 2018

The New Year might have kicked off with pomp and show but it was not exactly so for the Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir. To speak of the Bakarwal community they are a group of Sunni Muslim nomadic tribe dwelling in the Pir Panjal and the Himalayan region. They are seen in the entire Kashmir region and also in certain parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are mainly shepherds.

In early January 2018, a little girl of eight from the Bakarwal community was grazing horses when a man lured her to come along with him. The child followed that demon and what followed next was unspeakable brutality in the house of God. The girl was kept hostage for days together, drugged and raped by several men. They then smashed her head with a stone and threw her lifeless body in the forest. The motive behind the gruesome rape and murder was said to drive out the Bakarwal community from the region. The arrests had been made and among the accused are two police officers and also a juvenile delinquent boy. A similar crime has also been reported in the Unnao district of UP where a teen rape survivor claimed that BJP MP Kuldeep Singh Sengar had raped her and her father died in the police custody.

Being a mother to a ten-year-old girl child, I recoiled in horror when I read this news. Is this the same country where I was born? The questions which crossed my mind were plenty – Am I safe? Is my daughter safe? What should I name this barbarism which we have descended to? Why are these communal murders becoming rampant under the current regime? Who is the mastermind behind these killings? And why do we get a stunning silence from our honourable PM each time such a heinous crime takes place?

After studying various reports and seeing several tweets what I as a common woman understand is that Hindu fanatics in Jammu, instead of protesting against the Kathua murder, have run to the protection of the accused. These goons also claim that several police investigators being Muslim cannot be trusted. The Hindu community not only supported the rape and murder but the women also staged a dharna claiming if the accused aren’t freed they will burn themselves. The current political regime of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claims the CBI is better to handle the case and not the state police. This is a nasty act by right-wing fanatics and I am sure that the current government is nurturing this hate politics. This is nothing but a communal murder and none other than the parivar of hate are behind these gruesome offences. When we look at the tattered condition of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath’s governments, it is clear they are hell-bent on killing the innocent Muslims, terrorize them and convert India to a typical Hindu Rashtra.

What is the point in terrorizing people by raping and murdering an eight-year-old? It is an act of cowardice. As a daughter of a psychologist and a voracious reader of psychology books myself, I can only say the ones who committed the crime are born criminals and have been raised by criminals.

I am equally appalled by the radio silence by our PM. He has time to congratulate sportspersons for the CWG, which is appreciable, but why no stand on these repeated hate games and dividing us in the name of religion? It started with young Junaid who was lynched when he went for Eid shopping and now it has become a day-to-day affair. There has been nationwide outrage over these two rapes and murder where a candlelight march was organized by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Several noted film personalities and politicians had condemned this barbaric act.

The infamous 16 December 2012 case shook the nation and Jyoti Singh was named “India’s daughter”, so I pose a question to the PM – isn’t Asifa our daughter? Justice lies in our hand and we should punish the accused rather than lingering with all our daily dose of drama. Nirbhaya justice took five long years here is my sincere wish do not wait that long, it will only support hate and atrocities.

We the people of India are secular and we wish to remain the same. A note of caution to the people of this nation – please choose your leaders carefully in the forthcoming election. If you can do that it is fine and if not, then be prepared for extinction. A special note to Narendra Modiji, you need to deliver justice to this rape case, need to prosecute and punish the guilty.

The Kathua rape victim was around the age of my daughter who should have been out playing. Instead, she suffered the darkest crime one can imagine and that too inside a temple. As a Hindu I am ashamed, as a mother, I am ashamed, as a woman I am ashamed and I refuse to call myself an Indian till justice is delivered to the innocent. Our country is gradually deteriorating and we must act now to stop these injustices, people please speak up against the government and throw them out of power. They deserve the back door, they had promised “Achche Din” (good days) and what good days we are seeing is clear to all.

Author’s note: A poem for the little girl by the author had also been featured with Cafe Dissensus magazine and the same can be read here.