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Shame in Kathua

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It is outrageous, criminal and shameful. A group of lawyers of Kathua Bar Association, on Monday, prevented Crime Branch (CB) of Jammu and Kashmir Police from filing charge sheet into rape-and-murder of eight year old girl Asifa Bano at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Kathua. Though the CBI later filed the charge-sheet but it exposed the criminal and communal mindset of a people who are supposed to be on the side of justice. Lawyers are deemed as dignified people who besides being professionals act as officers of the court and play a vital role in the administration of justice. However, the Kathua lawyers have projected themselves in a poor light of being unprofessional, unethical and unscrupulous. The heinous way the innocent nomad girl was kidnapped, kept captive for seven day, raped during captivity and then murdered should have banged the conscience of every citizen to raise his or her voice for justice. It sad irony the case is perceived the other way. It is being projected as a case between Hindu and Muslims. The matter is not restricted to Kathua lawyers only. The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) is on strike since Thursday in protest against investigations by Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police in the case. The Jammu Bar is seeking the case to be handed over to central investigating agency CBI. BJP, which is in power in the state in alliance with PDP, is publicly supporting these elements. It is widely believed that the public protests by lawyers and political activists under the banner of Hindu Ekta Munch are held at the behest of the BJP. Last month, two BJP ministers Chowdhary Lal Singh, and Chandra Prakash attended a rally of Hindu Ekta Manch held in support of the accused in the rape and murder case. Lal Singh is reported to have called it a ‘war’ and assured the protestors “we are with you in this cause. We have to win this war”. It is the worst kind of bestiality to describe a serious human issue as “war”. “War” between whom? A hapless 8-year old Muslim girl has been put to the worst kind of brutality—raped and murdered later. A policeman alleged to be found involved in the gruesome case has been arrested by the police, who, incidentally, is a Hindu. That is all what makes the case for BJP minister and Hindu Ekta Munch. They want to shield the accused only for his religious leanings. Demanding handing over the probe to CBI is only to put pressure on police to go soft on the accused. It is also perhaps for this fact that CBI allegedly bungled earlier the Shopian rape and murder case of two women. A sort of thinking must also be ticking the minds of the protestors that BJP, for being a ruling party at the centre, could prevail on the CBI to hush up the case. Whatever the reason, it is beyond doubt that the protestors see nothing criminal in raping and murdering a girl child more especially if the perpetrator is their co-religionist and the victim outside their religion. That could be well understood from the assertions of Lal Singh when he was reported to said…mar gaye tou kiya hua, bohat saari ladkiya marti hien (What if she died, many girls have died). That is the extreme degree of mental perverseness one could expect from such retarded people. Rape and murder, in every legal, moral and human lexicon, is a heinous crime that needs to be condemned and disapproved by every person without drawing religious lines into it. But playing religious card in everything around is a national political project of the BJP. It is time for the PDP to revisit its alliance with the BJP. By aligning with communal and fascist elements, PDP is axing on its own legs. It is a grim reality that ever since BJP rose to power at the centre and in the state, serious societal crisis has erupted in the entire country. The minorities, more particularly Muslims have been pushed to a corner. Their space in public life is not only squeezing but their lives, honour and properties have been put to public threats. That in no way augers well for the country. Saner minds in India should feel concerned for the ideological drift and cultural decline that is sponsored and promoted by the BJP in the name of religion.