The Kathua case is a minor incident, so says the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. An eight-year-old girl is a small girl and whatever happens to her will also be considered ‘small’. Why, after all, such a ruckus over the killing of one small girl! This is also a reflection of the usual attitude of our society towards children. If a small girl or boy is abused and if it becomes imperative to punish an adult responsible for this, then the usual thought is, why to spoil an adult’s life just because of a child! It is interesting to observe that in a society where a child is not considered important, he/she must respect the elders, must remain disciplined, must not question whatever the adult says, the society immediately starts demanding death sentence for the rape of a child.
The Chief of Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, even went on hunger strike demanding death sentence for the child rapists. The activists working for children’s rights requested her to reconsider her demand. But she remained adamant. And within a few days, the central government passed an ordinance providing with the provision of death sentence child rapists. Maliwal was congratulated for this victory.
Nobody bothered to ask, why did the Central government, which has not fulfilled any demand related to public welfare, accept this proposition immediately? This doubt should immediately arise when the government, which takes anti-public decisions at every step, suddenly does something which seems to be in favour of the common man.
Before demanding death sentence for the child rapist, just think how much we trust our children. Secondly, as has been revealed by various studies and researches, children are often sexually abused by their own relatives or acquaintances. In such a situation, the girl will certainly be under pressure for not filing the complaint, and she may not even be kept alive to testify against the offender.
Even the BJP is in a state of indecision about the death sentence. The BJP in this matter holds that it will choose the accused. When the police filed the charge sheet in Kathua case, the Hindus of Kathua were mobilised and told that the Hindus have been branded as accused, but they can never be the accused because they are Hindus. A Hindu Ekta Manch was formed and a campaign was launched against the police investigation into the case. It was alleged that the police investigation is anti-Hindu.
A journalist rightly remarked that if it seemed that the investigation is wrong and malicious and it is charging wrong people of the crime, then Hindu Ekta Manch could have been formed against it. The demand for arresting the real culprits could have been raised. But forming the Hindu Ekta Manch right away made their intentions clear. The intention was not to get justice at all, the intention was to run a campaign against the Muslims using this issue as an excuse. Otherwise, why was the issue of land acquisition by Rohingya Muslims, Bakarwal tribe and Gujjars attached to it?
It is natural for the person to be angry and agitated whose daughter was made subject to such a brutality. But in this case, the accused side became agitated and aggressive. At first they said they want justice for the girl. But they also said they don’t trust the police investigation. Then they said the Hindus cannot even commit such a ghastly crime. Bakarwals marry within their community and family, hence this act might also have been committed by one of them only. Or the Rohingya Muslims might have committed the crime!
So, have they been saying that the Hindus cannot rape! after all, rapes take place across the country- are the Hindus not involved in them at all?
The deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir should know that this incident would have been just another ‘minor’ incident of rape, as he wished, along with many rapes and murders in the country had this movement against the police investigation not started. Who blew the matter out of proportion? Did the Muslims create any stir with the demand that the accused be immediately killed or punished during the police investigation? Did the Muslims in any part of this country do that?
Meanwhile, the report of a rape in Madrasa came to light. Did the Muslims organise any protest or demonstration as to why Madrasa is being mentioned in the case? Did they raise a hue and cry over why a Muslim has been made an accused in this rape case?
Some people are raising the question why those people who protested in the Kathua and Unnao case are not on the streets about the rape in Ghazipur madrasa! Before asking this, they should ask themselves- is there any pressure of powerful people or leaders in favour of the accused as the influential lawyers and others were using their influence in Kathua case? Have the Muslims of Ghazipur formed any Muslim Ekta Manch and been running a campaign in favour of the accused? If it is not so, and if the required and necessary legal and administrative proceedings are going on then what is the need for a demonstration or protest?
Had the Hindu leaders of Kathua shown the same restraint and patience as the Muslims of Ghazipur, then we may have perhaps mentioned the Kathua incident as Ghazipur case was mentioned without any hullabaloo. But this did not happen. The cruelty of Kathua could not remain a ‘minor’ incident. It did not remain a rape or murder case. Efforts were made to use eve the murder of a small girl against a community. Who made it such a big issue—is there any need to answer it?