Kathua rape case: Where is justice?

The event ‘Justice for Unnao and Kathua Victims - a discussion’ held this Sunday at Lamakaan saw several attendees coming forward in solidarity
Kathua rape case: Where is justice?

HYDERABAD: The city is angry. The people are angry. Candlelight marches are questioned. The rising offline and online protest against the brutal rape and murder of 8-year-old child, from minor nomad Bakarwal community in Kathua, J&K has angered masses and that’s how solidarity marches and talks are witnessing huge participation from all communities. Educationist and writer Sarah Mathews and PhD scholar Attaullah Niazi who hails from J&K and is pursuing his research at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) were the chief speakers.

The open discussion saw people in tears as Attaullah, who is also from Bakarwal community, recited a poem written by author Hridayesh Joshi in which the little murdered child addresses her mother:

“Ma woh ajeeb se dikhtey thhey

Na janwar, na insaan jaise

Unn ke paas kaleja nahin thha ma

Lekin unn ke seeng ya pankh bhi nahin thhey ma

Lekin unhoney mujhey bahot sataya…”

He continued, “Forest Rights Act needs to be adopted in J&K for safeguarding the rights of the tribal community. This heinous incident is all about power and acquisition of land. Whenever something as serious as this happens we protest and stop after a few months. This needs addressing as to why do we do it.” Someone from the audience asked as to what’s the use of candlelight marches and protests in distant cities when the crime was committed elsewhere? Sarah fiercely responded, “Rape is a tool of oppression which has been used for a long time especially when it comes to land or acquisition of property as the rapists believe that all the honour lies in the body of the woman of a family or a community and hence by destroying that they think they win. That’s why it’s important to register the protest. To express your dislike you must protest.”

Other activists were also there. International human rights activist and prof Fatima Shahnaz, too, responded, “Rape as crime used for ethnic cleansing is a deliberate systematic tool for genocide targetted against certain races and communities. For example 69,000 Muslim Bosnian women were raped by Serbians which was nothing but an act of power. Here, in this case of Kathua it is against certain class and caste which are soft targets.”

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The New Indian Express