The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua was marked by a long period of silence among mainstream Indian political parties. There were even protests in support of those accused in this case. The shamelessness rose to its zenith when a group of lawyers protested and tried to prevent the crime branch from filing the charge sheet against the eight accused persons.
It is shameful to see communalism in the present Indian society reaching a level where even the religion of a rape victim can be made ground for denying her justice. The protest by the Hindu Ekta Manch, waving the Indian flag and chanting the slogan of “Bharat mata ki jai” had not only insulted this great nation but every freedom fighter who had fought for our independence.
Though Indian society has often been deeply divided on the grounds of religion, caste and ethnicity, this division had never reached the level where it is today. Anyone who reads the charge sheet filed by the crime branch will burst into tears due to the horrible account.
What people in today’s society need to be taught is that rape is never okay – that it never happens because of the victim’s religion, caste, or the kind of dress she wears but due to demonic desire and existing patriarchal culture in the present society. The attempt of the accused to hide their crime under the cover of religion or caste must be resisted and the society must be united against them.
All those self-declared nationalists who protested in support of the accused and shouted “Bharat mata ki jai” must understand that this will disturb the situation of Kashmir which at present is already pretty bad. This will pose another set of difficulties to our soldiers placed there.
Above all, there should be a free and fair enquiry and the guilty should be punished.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.