The gang-rape of a young girl in a moving bus in a busy area of Delhi on the evening of December 16, 2012, had shocked not only Indians but had the world raise concerns about the security of Indian women.
This gang-rape and a series of other incidents of rapes in Delhi (which earned Delhi the infamous title 'Rape Capital of India') shattered many myths around claims that Indians worship women, non-violence is the creed of Indians and that a woman is deemed to be Lakshmi or goddess of wealth.
The reaction of the Hindutva camp was on expected lines. The semi-illiterate (a status worse than being illiterate) chief of RSS Mohan Bhagwat had declared that “crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend but such crimes would not happen in Bharat or rural areas of the country...where women are treated as mother”.
Another prominent RSS ideologue Kailash Vijayvargiya had then held rape victims responsible for inviting rapes as women were crossing the “Laxman Rekha”. The then international advisor of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ashok Singhal held adoption of “western model” responsible for the rapes.
The present rape storm in India not only shows the hollowness of the claims of the Hindutva ideologues but also unashamed culpability of the individuals and organisations connected with the Hindutva ideology.
The three rape cases which have shamed India took place in rural India and the perpetrators in all cases are related to the Hindutva organisations.
Swami Chinmayanand Rape Case
According to the victim, a sadhvi, she was a former disciple of Chinmayanandand and manager of an ashram run by Chinmayanand in rural Shahjahanpur. She filed an FIR against him on November 30, 2011, alleging that she was held captive, raped and assaulted for several years.
It may be noted that Chinmayanand is founder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (a militant wing of RSS ), was organiser of Shri Ram Janambhoomi Mukti Sangharsh Samiti and home minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2003. He moved the Allahabad high court and got a stay on his arrest in 2011 itself. The woman recorded her statement before the judicial magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC, but no action was taken by the police.
The State of UP did not take any action for vacating the stay ordered by the High Court. When the victim came to know that Yogi government had moved for cancellation of the case, she sent letters to the President and the district judge objecting to the move, urging them to issue a warrant against the accused. However, the Yogi Adityanath government decided to withdraw the case against Chinmayanand stands.
Unnao Rape Case
The news of Unnao rape case exploded when a minor girl attempted suicide outside the residence of UP CM Yogi on April 8, 2018, after her 55-year-old father was thrashed and critically wounded allegedly by BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Sengar's brother Atul Singh on April 3, 2018.
Shockingly, out of the two complaints filed, one by MLA's men and the other by girl's family, police acted only on one complaint of the BJP MLA and his cohorts, arrested the injured father of the rape victim and sent him to jail. He died on April 9 while in judicial custody. According to a video shot during his arrest he could be seen and heard holding MLA and his brother responsible for his injuries. Police took no action despite this crucial and clinching proof.
This minor girl and her family were struggling to lodge an FIR against the BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, his brother and others in June 2017 in their village, Makhi. Innumerable visits of the victim to the police begging for an FIR were not entertained. It was only after the nation-wide uproar that the case was handed over to the CBI while Allahabad High Court ordered the arrest of the MLA which even the top brass of the UP police had refused to do.
Kathua rape & murder case
The blood-chilling details of the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old innocent girl who was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, kept in a Devisthan (temple) in Kathua, sedated and raped multiple times by different rapists and killed on January 16 are difficult to share.
All the above rape-cum-murder cases have several intriguing similarities.
- In all these gruesome incidents, rapists/killers and perpetrators are affiliated to Hindutva organisations especially RSS/BJP.
- The rapists/killers have been secular in committing crimes as they did not spare even a Hindu minor girl and a woman.
- The States of Jammu & Kashmir and UP where these crimes happened are ruled by the RSS/BJP leaders, former State being ruled with Mehbooba Mufti's PDP as equal coalition partner.
- RSS/BJP leaders took a uniform stand on punishing the perpetrators. In Jammu & Kashmir they took the side of the perpetrators whereas in Swami Chinmayanand and Unnao rape cases the government of Mahant Yogi Adityanath tried to save the culprits despite victims being Hindu women, one of them a sadhvi.
- Despite RSS/BJP rulers ganging up against the victims, the latter resolutely resisted the juggernaut which aimed at crushing their resistance. In Kathua rape case despite RSS/BJP's all-out aggression to communalise the crime, the father of the raped and murdered eight-year-old girl has not lost faith in the democratic-secular society of India and in humanity. According to him it is only handfuls who have been protesting against it. He insists that most Hindus and Muslims of the region condemn the murder and want the accused punished. He adds, “We would have come on the roads seeking justice if this had happened to a Hindu girl…Humanity comes first, before one’s religion as a Hindu or Muslim.”
- The most intriguing aspect is that in these barbaric crimes religious places, religious babas and those who talk of religion based politics have been directly involved. But out of hundreds of omnipresent and omnipotent gods/goddesses sitting up in the Heavens none was moved by the cries, pain and sufferings of the victims. We must ask the question which martyr Bhagat Singh asked in 1930: "I ask why your omnipotent God does not hold a man back when he is about to commit a sin or offence. It is (should be ) child’s play for God.”
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