Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Asifa – “Justice for our daughters”

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

It should not be a surprise, rather be accepted as a replay of 1947 when Muslim women of all ages were rounded up, gang raped and killed in Jammu? The replay of the crime finds its roots in The Hindu Mahasabha Martyrs’ Day organised on 30 August 1947 in Delhi.

8 year old Muslim Bakarwal girl Asifa, resident of village Rasana, was growing in the trusted tranquillity of deep forests in the District of Kathua. Her innocence, way of life and faith as a Muslim were intercepted by eight local Hindus, who engineered her abduction in the afternoon of 10 January 2018. She was taken to a temple “Devisthan”, that is ‘abode of god’ held captive, drugged and gang raped before they strangled and battered her to death with a stone. One of the culprits, Deepak Khajuria was so relaxed in the process of crime that he wanted to rape Asifa one last time before they would kill her.

AsifaThe alleged ringleader, a retired bureaucrat Sanji Ram, looked after this small Hindu temple where the girl had been held captive and assaulted. Two of the eight on trial are police officers who stand accused of being bribed to stifle the investigation. Hindu fundamentalist, including two minister of BJP and Hindu lawyers have shamed the world by holding protests in support of the accused.

Though the rape and killing of the girl in Kashmir had been known about for months, the public backlash erupted after the charge sheet giving gruesome details of the crime was finally filed last week. It alleged that the attack was part of a plan to drive the Muslim nomads out of Kathua district in Jammu. Jammu has a history of ethnic cleansing. Muslim majority of Jammu was changed by the Hindu fundamentalist in 1947, when Muslim men, women and children were rounded up, to be raped and killed. The bestiality and barbarity of 1947 has been replayed in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child in January 2018.

Prime Minister Modi was too slow and exceptionally late in his condemnation of the heinous crime. His parent party has a history of anti-Muslim passion since 20 December 1931, when RSS volunteers marched on the streets of Lahore, in favour of Hindu Ruler and against the Kashmiri Muslims.

Modi has left for a week long official visit of Europe. He will be attending the CHOGM-2018 in London. Before leaving for Europe this week, Modi received a letter from 50 former police chiefs, ambassadors and senior civil servants upbraiding the country’s political leadership over its weak response. The letter states, “The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into…In post-Independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble.”

The letter goes further and blames the BJP and likeminded right-wing Hindu groups for promoting a culture of “majoritarian belligerence and aggression” in Jammu, and in the Uttar Pradesh case. The letter has blasted the party for using feudal strongmen, who behave like gangsters, to shore up its rule.

This time, Congress was quick to realize the mood of the country, with party leader Rahul Gandhi leading the first major protest in the capital last week. On Monday, Gandhi tweeted that there had been nearly 20,000 child rapes in India in 2016, and urged Modi to fast-track prosecutions “if he is serious about providing ‘justice for our daughters'”.

Rape of 8 year old Muslim Bakarwal girl has shaken the conscience of all decent people in India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Europe and other important capitals of the world. The New York Times has covered the details of the crime. Nidhi Razdan, Anurada Bhasin, Advocate Deepika Ahlawat (belonging to a Pandit family of Kupwara), Shehla Rashid of JNU, and tennis Star Sania Mirza have successfully and heroically invited the attention of the Indian Nation to the heinous crime against an 8 year child.

Use of Devisthan that is abode of god, for committing a crime against 8 year old child of Muslim faith by eight Hindus has shamed people of all faiths. However, this replay of a crime finds its roots in The Hindu Mahasabha Martyrs’ Day organised on 30 August 1947 in Delhi and RSS march of 20 December 1931 organised in Lahore.

Militant Hindu organization, The Hindu Mahasabha organised Martyrs’ Day on 30 August 1947 in Delhi. The organization distributed a leaflet in the city. The leaflet was titled “Remember the 30th of August 1947” and it advised all its members:

“When you have to observe ‘Martyrs’ Day’, the day should begin with the mass murder of Muslims, children and women alike. Forcible occupation of Muslim buildings should be your objective. Set fire to Muslim mohallas’ (quarter of the town) “but beware that fire does not spread to Hindu and Sikh localities”. (Source 228th Meeting of UN Security Council – Speech by Sir Zafrullah Khan 17 January 1948)

All these years since 1947 Hindu Mahasabha has worked hard to sneak into Kashmir Valley. Its members are embedded in the Indian security forces and administration. It is currently engaged in brutal violence against Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley. Asifa’s rape has a question for every Hindu of India and abroad. “Devisthan”, the abode of god, did not appear to house the spirit of god. Its tenants were these dirty, barbaric and ungodly people. Who are they? Hindus or the criminals of a rare kind?

The author is the President of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN Register as an Expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. Author could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

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