Kathua Rape Case: It is a Hindu-Muslim war for foreign media
Kathua: In an unprecedented aftermath of the rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, not only the Indian but the international media has come out openly lambasting the incident.
Some of the foreign media houses have even gone to the extent of calling it more a Hindu-Muslim war than a brutal rape case.
The New York Times has covered the matter extensively and has written:
It seemed another isolated, horrific episode of sexual violence in India, perpetrated against a powerless girl by brutal men. But in the months since...the murder, the case has become another battleground in India’s religious wars.
Hindu nationalists have turned it into a rallying cry not calling for justice for..., but rushing to the defence of the accused. All of the men arrested are Hindu, and ...nomadic people, the Bakarwals, are Muslim.
Speaking to the New York Times, a Bakarwal social activist Talib Hussain, fighting on behalf of Asifa's family stated:
- Bakarwal nomads for generations have leased land from Hindu farmers so that their animals can graze during the winter.
- In recent years, however, Hindus in the Kathua area have campaigned against the nomads.
- Believed to be at the campaign's helm is the accused custodian, Sanji Ram.
- His poison has been spreading.
- When I was young, I remember the fear Sanji Ram's name invoked in Muslim women.
- If they wanted to scare each other, they would take Sanji Ram's name, since he was known to misbehave with Bakarwal women.
The Washington post:
The leading daily covered the incident very deeply with every stories and follow ups.
The editor writes of how the crime has inflamed Hindu-Muslim tensions.
The Associated Press:
The daily paper has compared the Kathua case with the protests that erupted after Nirbhaya case on December 16, 2012.
It has the detailed information on how the girl disappeared and how the incident has set Kashmir on boil.
What is the entire matter:
She was just an eight-year-old small girl like many others. Yes, she did not belong to very rich family but she had everything that could make her smile. Unlike many other well-equipped children, Asifa used to help her mother in her household work and she also helped her father in outdoor works.
It was the evening of January 13, 2018, like everyday, she went outside her house taking her horse to graze the field in the nearby forest. Asifa was unknown of the fact that she will never return to her house and will never meet her parents again.
That evening, unlike daily, Asifa, was followed by the unknown man to the forest.
Soon, the man kidnapped her, grabbed her, raped her and then locked her into a temple for four days.
The man did not rape the girl alone but he also called seven of his accomplices to rape her.
Those torturers did not get satisfied after raping her once and started to give her sedatives so that they can quench their thirst of lust regularly and it continued for four days.
The small girl was pleading and begging for life, she was crying and screaming to let her go. She was shouting like anything but no one was their to save her.
All these atrocities did not stopped here as those shameful men did not listen to her and they even called one of their friends from some other place to rape her for the last time before ending her life.
When her body stopped responding despite being given the sedatives those develious people decided to finally kill her. To ensure that she has died, one of the men hit her twice on the head with a stone.
They threw her dead body on an isolated road and on January 17, 2018 her body was recovered by police.
The case stirred a chaos in the district and created a divide between Hindu and Muslim communities of the state. While few people regret the incident and want justice for Asifa's family, some are trying to defend the accused men saying that they have been wrongly framed.
According to Asifa's father, Mohammad Yusuf Pujwala (a Muslim nomad, part of Bakarwal tribe), "My daughter was raped by eight Hindu men. They later killed her for the sole purpose of driving her people away."
The police of the state said that Asifa was the pawn. They said, "A child of only 8 years of age who ... became a soft target."
Few days before, a chaotic scene took place outside the courtroom in Jammu and Kashmir as the mob of Hindu people tried to physically stop police from filing charges against the men accused.
Police, however, tried to manage the people and filed the case against the accused.
Dozens of the Hindu women blocked the highway and organised the hunger strike. They stated, "Police who are working on the cases like, Asifa, should not be trusted. They are against our religion. If the accused men are not freed, we will burn ourselves."