Don’t entangle the brutality of Kathua in senseless debates

The rape and murder in Kathua is not an ordinary one. The intention behind this crime is to evict her entire community from that area. This violence is much graver 

Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images
Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images
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Apoorvanand

It was instructed by the court not to reveal the name of the Kathua rape victim, who was kidnaped, raped and finally murdered. The newspapers and TV channels which mentioned her name were fined too. The Delhi High Court, took a suo motu cognisance of those news stories in media which mentioned the victim’s name. The court referred to the provision of the POCSO act which prohibits revealing the name of the victims of sexual violence to protect his privacy.

This human diligence of the court is very moving. If the court itself sees injustice in one case, then its importance can’t be dismissed because its attention is diverted somewhere else in other matters. For example, an important and big national daily published a news story on its front page that according to the post mortem report the girl in Kathua was not raped at all. It was a blatant lie and a deliberate act of malignance. But this crime was hushed up on the pretext of freedom of press. This was the crime of misleading propaganda and that too in the case of such a serious crime. But then are the courts meant for intervening in every trivial matter?

Besides the court, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights too warned us that we can not mention the girl’s name. We should be thankful to the Commission too for their prompt attitude. But before this, let’s just ask, what was the need to mention the girl’s name? What was the reason? Did the Commission send any notice to the Jammu and Kashmir government or the Centre in this regard?

This Commission was found sleeping when the children were ousted from their villages and homes due to mass violence or many children were even killed. Their right to live in a safe environment in their homes and do whatever other more fortunate children are able to do, is not so important that the Commission could be moved to act

Did the Commission ask why could the eight-year-old girl who belonged to the nomadic tribe Muslim Bakarwal community not be traced for about a week after she went missing? Was she alive during this time? Why couldn’t she be saved? The Commission is more worried about her honour after her death than her life itself. Krishna Kumar has rightly expressed his indignation over this in The Hindustan Times that such a Commission should better be closed down, whose humanity is opportunist and fraudulent.

This Commission was found sleeping when the children were ousted from their villages and homes due to mass violence or many children were even killed. Their right to live in a safe environment in their homes and do whatever other more fortunate children are able to do, is not so important that the Commission could be moved to act. Then it will become political. Therefore, it is not even worth giving a thought in what conditions those children are living who survived the violence in Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar or Atali. The honour of those girls in Chhattisgarh has no significance who are constantly doomed to be the victim of state violence in the name of national security.

Both these decisions are so transparent in their intentions that they do not require a separate interpretation. But the politics of not revealing the name of the girl in Kathua incident is equally transparent. This politics wants to summarise this cruelty in just a single word ‘rape’ while our attention should be focused on her murder and on the fact too that the kidnapping and rape of the girl was meant to terrorise her entire community.

The view behind the debate on whether she was raped or not is the same which has taken upon itself the charge of protecting the victim’s honour and privacy after she has been killed.

The society made an effort to deceive its own self by calling Jyoti Singh Nirbhaya. The fact of her courage and that she continued fighting till the last breath, was repeatedly highlighted, so that the thrilling drama of the entire incident remains alive. That she struggled till she died, should be remembered by all of us. But our feminist friends have been reminding us for long that it is far more important for women to be alive, to survive. If she is able to survive this kind of violence, then she would want to live. But a woman’s honour is more important for men because he is meant to protect the honour of the one who is called a woman. But in fact that honour is that of a man. That is why he does not have the same respect for the woman who has survived after being raped which is there for the woman who is killed in this violence. Had there been any way through which we could talk to the women who died during this kind of violence, then they would have perhaps said that even after going through this ghastly experience, they had wanted to live.

If you remember, the victim’s parents or the community in Kathua incident did not appeal for concealing the girl’s name. They even handed over the girl’s photograph to the media. The wanted and they want that justice should be done in this case. But this murder is not an ordinary one. The intention behind this crime is to evict her entire community from that area. This violence is much graver. We donot have any law till now which could suggest a way to get justice in this matter. This is not the issue related to one girl’s honour, it is an issue of her entire community’s right to live with respect and dignity in the country. We should not muffle this constitutional right of the community in the murkiness of the debate over technical-judicial and psychological aspects of rape.

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