Libertatem Magazine

Silence or Screams – A Feisty Story of Kathua Rape Case

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It hasn’t been long since our country lurched from past cases of brutal rape that made it to the newslines. There hasn’t been so much unconstrained overflowing of outrage and distress throughout the country since the Nirbhaya case in 2012. From debating about why the media is communalising the Kathua incident to supporting the BJP’s reaction in Unnao, it’s now time to put a lid on the hypocrisy.

The young girl belonged to the Bakarwal group, predominantly a nomadic community. She was kidnapped on 10th January 2018 in Jammu while she was out for grazing her cattle close to her home. The chargesheet filed by the J&K police, mentions that a retired official planned, ordered and otherwise aided and abetted the crime. Sanji Ram chalked out the entire kidnapping for his mere hunger to scare away the Bakarwals and influence them to move out of Rassana town in Kathua tehsil. He professedly allured his nephew, for the said purpose. The chargesheet further reveals that the girl raped, strangled and killed by the culprits who allegedly needed to oust her community from that area. The mercilessness of such an act has nauseated the entire humanity.

Although the case has taken some time to fully surface up the dialogs, but it is now attracting broad coverage with media houses and has ignited nationwide contempt, from social media to the hundreds and thousands of people holding banners out on the streets. This eight-year-old fell prey to the wile of communal hatred and misogyny, and to deny this would be like covering one’s head in the sand like an ostrich.

Well, we all must agree that the strategy of using rape as a weapon is not really new. Rape is common in conflict situations, be it war or riots. This anger that we are witnessing comes from the exorbitant reactions to this episode, and not because of the barbarity of the crime per se.

The fact the the crime scene involved a Hindu temple has made this incident considerably more flammable. Honestly, I wasn’t ready for a political gimmick on this.

The grievousness of the crime and the cooperative languor of the administration coupled with the dauntlessness of these people has made me believe in the forlornness of the time we live in.

The Bakkarwals have no choice but to resonate inside the fortified corridors of justice with the goal that it may reach to them one day. Yet for them, it has been a high cost to pay, to come out themselves as the victims and beg for it. Hope is what we have, to trust that Kathua unlike the other incidents will not be left waning, after this enormous support it has received, to stay one among the other sham promises of justice at the cost of their life and respect.

But there is one question that repeatedly resonates in my mind is that, why is there no outrage about other incidents of rape? 

I agree, it’s not like bigotry and hypocrisy doesn’t exist at all. There are dirty people. But wait oh what?, that’s the thing about it. Isn’t it? It is like a wound. It festers in our homes, schools and communities. Wait for media to get a next Sridevi or Kapil Sharma news, you’ll forget this faster than you forgot that 10 people died in Dalit agitations or Nirbhaya or Cauvery protests or a thousand different things that happen here daily.

What I believe is that, there has to be a better approach than siting here and mumbling things on the internet that you and me can do, and Hey! I don’t mean a candle march! Think about it.

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