An eight year old girl is kidnapped, gang raped several times through the week, sedated, strangled, hit twice on the head with stone and before she takes her last breath, raped again.
This gruesome case of rape, abduction and murder took place inside a temple in Rassana village of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir. The chilling details in the charge-sheet filed in the case makes one’s blood boil and ponder as to what drives men to perpetrate such heinous crimes.
Well, all this occurred as per a planned strategy to instill fear among the minority community of Bakherwal, a nomadic group, and to drive them away from the area. One of the eight accused traveled all the way from Meerut to give effect to this barbarity. All the accused along with Sanji Ram, a retired revenue official and the mastermind behind the incident, are now under arrest and the charge-sheet has been filed on the testimony of two accused.
The incident that sends shivers down one’s spine and challenges our very right to call ourselves humans turned communal in no time. Hindu Ekta Manch, an outfit set up by politicians including two Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, held a rally with the Tricolour, claiming the arrest of the accused as targeted attack against Hindus. Further, some lawyers from Jammu High Court Bar Association’s turned up in favour of the accused. They not only obstructed filing of charge sheet but also called for a bandh to protest against the alleged targeting of the Dogra community for the rape. Not one word came out from their mouths condemning the crime.
The charge sheet says that the “general impression” among the Hindu community in the tehsil was that “Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”. Oh, the irony! Was the victim here not a child? Was she not drugged? Is her murder not a slaughter? Or just because she was “their” child that this act is justified?
I’m sorry India, we have failed as a society, as Indians and as humans. We have become so indifferent to the sorrow of others in our ignorance that rape and murder of a child has gathered more supporters for the accused than the victim. The incident is heinous, brutal and a crime against humanity. But we are blind enough to not see this. We are blinded by our false pride. We are blinded by our pride in being “us” and not “them”, in being “Dogras” and not “bakharwals”, in being Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and not Humans.
We are slowly losing our identity as humans. We lost it to Nirbhaya, to the teenage girl in Unnao, to the eight year old in Kathua and to many more who go unnoticed each day bearing the burden of our false prides.
Let us NOT shame ourselves anymore, let not the false pride overtake us, let us question ourselves every time before we shield any criminals, before we take pride in our ignorance, before we indulge in the debate of “us” against “them” because there is no such pride and there is no such debate. If any that there is it’s about us being human, acting human and protecting ALL.