They Go by Victim's Religion

Dr. Jaipal Singh
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There cannot be more heinous, despicable and shameful crime than the molestation and rape of minor children and woman. In yet another spine-chilling bizarre incident, an eight-year-old minor girl (some reports say 7 years) was abducted and gang- raped in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district on 26 June 2018. The minor girl was reportedly waiting for her family member for pick up outside her school, when she was abducted and raped. Later the accused men tried to kill her by slitting her throat and abandoned her perhaps assuming she will be dead. This horrific case is also a gruesome reminder of Delhi’s Nirbhaya case in December 2012.

The minor victim was admitted in the Maharaja Yeshwantrao (MY) Hospital in Indore in a critical condition and reportedly undergone two delicate surgeries that revealed that the culprits had also inserted a rod or some pointed object into her that damaged parts of the intestine. Though locally there was tremendous anger and outrage among the civil population but situation was controlled by the administration. A special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted and two suspects namely Irfan (20 years) and Asif (24 years) have been arrested. It appears Irfan is the chief suspect who enticed and carried away the victim on some pretext and the other suspect joined him later in the crime.

Following day another incident of shame and insensitivity came to the fore when the local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Member of Parliament (MP) were shown on camera in the Hospital showing lip sympathy to the family members of the victim and the MLA was heard asking the family member to express gratitude for MP’s visit who came to inquire about the victim’s condition. These politicians belong to the ruling party. Nothing much can be expected from the majority of the political leaders whether they belong to the ruling or opposition party; the Chief Minister though condemned the incident saying the rapists were a burden on the earth and did not deserve to live.

The incident reminds me many more such fateful cases but more particularly two incidents in Jammu and Bengal. One is “the Kathua Rape case”, the barbaric event of the kidnapping, alleged rape and killing of an eight-year-old innocent girl in January 2018 in Rasana village of Kathua district in the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K); the other relates to the robbery and gang rape of a 71 years old nun in Ranaghat, Nadia district of West Bengal in March 2015. In the first case, a charge-sheet has been filed and trial began against eight accused (including one minor) while the court verdict in the second case has already come with life sentence to main culprit Nazrul Islam and ten years imprisonment to five others.

I am referring particularly to these two cases because in the first case the victim was a Muslim girl and in the second case a Christian elderly woman. Both the cases received wide publicity and media attention nationally and internationally, highlighting the minorities are discriminated and not safe in India. Political and social processions were organized, signature campaign arranged, funds in the name of victims collected and candle light march was held by the Left and some Socialist parties, Indian National Congress, Bollywood actors and seculars/liberals/intellectuals of the country. The blame and responsibility for the heinous crimes was squarely put by them on Hindus spreading Hindutva hate agenda, nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). What to talk of motivated media and politicians, even a well-known retired police chief Julio Ribeiro is on record to have said with reference to Bengal incident, “I am not Indian any more, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra”.

Later verdict in the second case established role of the four Bangladeshi Muslims (including main culprit Nazrul Islam who raped the victim) and two Hindu criminals. Even if the truth is belatedly revealed, it does not carry same impact or weight because the damage is already done due to disinformation in the beginning itself by the vested interests. And this damage is to the image of the country, secular fabric and social harmony of the communities. One wonders if a crime occurs, should the onus be put on the administration of the state government to nab the criminals irrespective of religion, caste or class or a systematic campaign be unleashed to squarely put blame on Central BJP government, RSS and so-called Hindutva brigade.

The Jammu case is sub judice so it may not be proper to dwell much at the moment. But the crime was given a religious colour by the enthusiastic state administration and police itself. The charge-sheet file by them had several inconsistencies and abberations. At least one accused appeared in examination and had human alibies, CCTV recordings and bank server records about the ATM visits and withdrawals at a place overnight away from Kathua during the period but police either ignored these alibis or treated it as forged. So truth will emerge only after trial and court verdict.

In the instant case the victim is from the Hindu majority community. I find that except for one or two media channel, others have simply reported the incident as the usual routine crime. Barring some isolated sane voices from here and there, I do not find the same political parties, actors and so-called liberals/intellectuals giving the due importance or attention or raising a voice against the crime. And this is not the first time. Some motivated reports have also appeared that the state has failed to give security and protection to the life of people and that in the climate of religious polarisation, which is thriving under the BJP, even the rape and brutalisation of children is slathered with communal colours.

I would call such politicians, actors and media person as pseudo-seculars, pseudo-liberals and presstitutes for their hypocrisy, double standards, false pretensions and jaundiced perspective. In the process of serving their vested interests, they are, in fact, causing more harm and damage to the multi-ethnic and multi-religious society that India is for centuries now. The warped secularism touted by these stalwarts neither conforms to universal ethics and morality nor it represents any fair play, equality and justice. In their eyes the pain and sufferings of a human being is determined by the religion of the victim. And this is not the first case; there is a long list of unfortunate cases where this particular class have shown utter apathy and insensitivity to the basic human tenets.

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