Discerning good from evil: Why moral science is the need of the hour
A few weeks ago, Jammu and Kashmir was shocked by two horrific crimes involving siblings. In the first case, a sister allegedly killed her brother after he objected to her relationship with a local boy in Rajouri. In the second incident, a 30-year-old brother allegedly raped his 22-year-old sister for three years in the Bandipora district
On August 11, Rajouri police received information that Ankit Bakshi, 24, has been found dead in his house at Chakli village. Since there was apprehension that miscreants might use this incident to inflame tension, the police constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident.
During the investigation, police found that Bakshi was allegedly murdered by her sister in connivance with her boyfriend and a juvenile. Police said Priya Bakshi was in a relationship with Rajan Sharma for the last one year. It did not go down well with the deceased. Therefore, the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy to eliminate the deceased
During the examination of the crime scene, police did not find forceful entry. It indicated that it was either an insider’s job or the accused got easy excess. Later Priya, Sharma, and the juvenile were arrested and they confessed to the crime during interrogation.
Police said during the investigation, a lot of efforts were made to mislead the SIT, but they stood their ground and cracked the case in a professional manner.
On August 12, a 22-year-old girl approached police in Bandipora alleging that her brother has been raping her for the last four years. Police immediately swung into action and arrested the accused. The statement of the girl was recorded and the accused, who is married, was sent to jail.
This is not for the first time that such cases have surfaced in Jammu and Kashmir. In April 2019, a 22-year-old woman committed suicide after she was allegedly raped by her father in the Bandipora district.
On October 29, 2018, a 50-year-old father allegedly raped and impregnated his 22-year-old daughter in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Police later arrested the father.
In September 2019, a 14-year-old step-brother along with his friends gang-raped and murdered the nine-year-old sister on the instance of his mother in the border area of Uri. Police later arrested all accused including stepbrother, his friends, and stepmother in the case.
In November last year, greed for a land plot and jewelry drove a stepbrother to kill his sister in cold blood on the day of her wedding at Saida Kadal in Srinagar. Three people including her stepbrother, cousin sister, and cousin brother were arrested for murdering the bride on the day she was to get married.
Police said on November 3, the trio hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Shahnaza. The victim used to wake up for fajr prayers. In the wee hours of November 4, 2020 when she was busy in prayers, her brother along with two cousins smothered her to death. Later, they tied the cloth with a ceiling fan to camouflage it as suicide.
Crimes by close kins have been on the rise across the country and Jammu and Kashmir is no exception. However, given the predominately religious society, these crimes were unheard of. Either they were not reported or such crimes did not exist.
Crime branch figures reveal that 29339 criminal cases were registered in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh in 2020. In 2019, 25408 cases were registered in two union territories. In 2018, 27276 cases were registered as against 25608 in 2017.
Official figures reveal that 119 people were murdered in 2019. There were 419 attempts to murder cases registered in Jammu and Kashmir. Police also registered 180 cases of stabbing and 962 cases of abduction of kids. Around 300 cases of rapes were registered in 2019. Around 1452 molestation cases and 63 eve-teasing cases were also registered in Jammu and Kashmir. Eight dowry deaths and 346 cases of cruelty by husbands were also registered. 1238 cases of burglary, 73 robberies, one dacoity, and 177 cases of arson were also registered in 2019.
Miscellaneous criminal cases stand at 6962. Around 2841 cases were registered under local and special laws. They include white-collar crimes and NDPS cases.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveal that women in J&K have also faced cyberbullying, stalking, and blackmail. NCRB data revealed that six cyber crimes against women including publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material were recorded by the crime branch in 2018. Three cases relate to blackmailing, defamation, morphing, and fake profiles on social media.
The data is only the tip of the iceberg. Mostly the cases related to crime against women are not reported.
It is high time that both society and law enforcement agencies wake up from deep slumber. Imams and the mohalla committee need to be more proactive. Just giving sermons in mosques will not help. People need to cooperate with the police and identify these criminals. Criminals need to be named and shamed. Society needs to be changed. Parents need to teach religious values to their kids. Prior to militancy, local darasgah was acting as a reformation center where children and youth were not only imparted Quranic teachings but also value systems. It is high time to revive these centers so that moral education is imparted to children. Wake up before it is too late!!