On 17thof January,2018, the body of a little eight-year-old girl was found near the Rasana forest in Jammu and Kashmir. The post-mortem revealed that the girl was raped several times by several men, was not fed for several days, and was strangulated to death. There are a few shocking occurrences in this incident, namely, the conspirator of the whole plot was a retired revenue official (Patwari), his son was a well education graduate, some police officers tried to destroy the evidence and last, but the most dramatic thing- the protest of the left-wing groups supporting the culprits (quoting that all the arrested people were Hindus) and the following resignation of two BJP ministers for being a part of the processions.
A Roller-Coaster of hatred and revenge
It is reported that Sanji Ram, the prime accused did not like the residence of the Bakerwal community in their vicinity. This was a plan to dislodge the Bakerwals from the place. The culmination of this hatred was the brutal rape and murder of an innocent girl, which as Sanji is reported to have called a revenge.
The question that comes up is this – why was a girl kidnapped, raped and killed? There are a few explanations that can be given:
- All that men work for is the safety and security of their family, i.e. their wives and children. A child was kidnapped because it is easy to woo children and children easily trust people. This was a potential threat to the Bakerwal community that neither men nor women, not even children are spared from their ‘evil eye’.
- A girl because a girl is directly under the protection of her father. This incident was to hurt the ego of fathers of the Bakerwal community who, like other fathers, were confident enough that they could protect their daughters.
- The idea of sexually assaulting the girl does not seem to be in their initial to-do list, if their agenda was to drive away the Bakerwals. This must have been conceived after the kidnap of the girl.
- The disposal of the body of the girl was intentional because their aim was to threaten the Bakerwals.
The Religious Drama
Some pro-Hindu groups staged protests following the arrest of the accused, arguing that the arrested were only Hindus. This appears to be nothing but a cheap communal drama, trying to save the accused by bringing religion into the matter. Now, what makes them do this to support those accused of such a heinous crime?
- The groups which protested must have had favours from Sanji as he was a Patwari. This might have been an obligation to fight for him, whether he is the criminal or not.
- Common people are highly susceptible to suggestions. It is said that two ministers from the BJP addressed the gathering and made provocative speeches. The position which the ministers held made them authoritative on the issue in the eyes of the people.
- This problem arose primarily because the Bakerwals are Muslim community which makes up one of the few Hindu dominant areas of Kashmir.
- The groups were such supporters for religion, but they must be reminded that the girl was raped in a temple, the very centre of the Hindu holy activities. In such a pure place like a temple, the inhuman beasts took the life of the vey girl. So, who are the culprits here, the Bakerwals or the very accused who are Hindus?
The Involvement of a juvenile
What is more shocking is the involvement of a juvenile, reportedly the nephew of the accused. It is said that he was involved in the initial stages of kidnapping as the girl knew him. He is reported to have offered to help the girl find her horse and then abducted her. It is also said that he was quite close to her. Is he just a victim in the hands of the conspirators or a person with his own intentions is matter of debate.
The Fence itself grazing the field
In any field, fence is put up to protect the crops from the cattle, what if the fence, whose duty is to protect, starts grazing the very crops it should protect? The police, who were responsible for the protection of the girl, themselves are accused of trying to destroy the evidence for an amount of four Lakh rupees. The entire police department of the area is already ashamed of letting the incident happen, in addition to it, these two officers are involved in manipulating the case so that their benefactor is rescued. What should be done with such fences?
Lessons to be learnt
The incident of Kathua teaches the whole humanity some lessons the hard way. The duty of any law is to prevent people from committing crimes, not merely punishing the criminals. Prevention is better than cure. Is the Indian law so weak that does not defer people under its own jurisdiction from committing crimes? What message does this pass to the non-Indians residing in India? Is it that people who are in power and who have money and the common people have a different set of laws?
Punishment for crimes in apparently do not defer criminals from committing crimes, let alone offences. That is the reason we see criminals visiting jails as if it is their relatives’ home. They come out, commit the same crime and then go back. This is an endless cliché.
The only possible solution at this point of time is finding the reason behind criminals committing crimes. For a majority of them, this is the only way for their livelihood. They must be convinced that there are other doors in life and train them in some vocation. There must be some positive transformation in them when they come out of prison.
The fact that some police officers involved in manipulation of the case, calls for more rigorous punishments for those officers than common people as they are the ones who should ensure that peace and order is prevalent everywhere and the law is being abided by each and every citizen. If they themselves do not follow law, is it foolish to expect common people to follow rules.
This case also calls for a more holistic education so that the younger generation can distinguish between the good and the bad. It is interesting to know that majority of the people involved here are not illiterates but are fairly qualified. So, the point of view with which the younger generation is being educated should be changed from syllabus oriented to life oriented, teaching them life values which would help them lead a meaningful life. It should aim at creating whole human beings, not merely highly qualified people with facts and figures crammed into their brains.
This also is a shocking lesson to all the parents, especially of girls. They must ensure that their daughters are capable of self-defense and also to not to send young children outside alone, not even with the people whom they know. The only trustworthy people in a child’s life, until it is capable of defending itself are its parents and nobody else. Plus, it is the duty of the parents to educate their children about sex in an age appropriate manner.
At the end, the deceased girl demands justice. She and many other victims of such cases want to see their culprits come to justice. Will death penalty ever be equivalent to even a small fraction of their sufferings?
The case is expected to go the Supreme Court. The judgement should we a warning to all those potential criminals with even a slightest idea of the kind in any corner of their brains.
- Image Source: thelogicalindian.com
Author: Ms. Nayana M R