As a stigma to Indian nation, it is an embarrassing ground reality that brutalities against women and innocent girls, their rape and murder, are on the rise despite the fact that the states and central governments are making high-sounding claims of their commitment to the safeguard of the weaker sex. More worrying factor is that these excesses are also coloured with communal consideration. The alleged offenders are gathering political and social support. Two recently reported ugly incidents exhibit the communally polluted atmosphere of the country in the Modi government.
A beastly incident was reported from the Kathua district of Jammu region of Kashmir where a child of eight years was abducted, gang raped and murdered. A girl from a Bakarwal nomadic family grazing her horse was lured by a caretaker of a nearby temple. He abducted her, kept her captive in a room of the temple, sedated and gang raped her for seven days and then brutally killed her. She was missing from her family on January 10 and her body was found after seven days. The police found eight people including the temple caretaker, a police officer and a juvenile guilty of torturing, sexually assaulting, raping and killing the girl. When arresting the guilty and filing the charge sheet the Hindu Ekta Manch organized a protest and gave a call for ‘bandh’. The protesters claimed that ‘innocent persons’ were arrested and inquiry should be handed over to the CBI as they did not have faith in the state crime branch.
The most worrisome communal perversion may be gauged from the fact that two state ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chandar Prakash Ganga and a section of lawyers joined the protest. Can there be any more condemnable, irresponsible, anguishing and frustrating instance that the ministers are mocking at their government and lawyers are laughing at the legal process? This is because of the deep-rooted communal culture constantly promoted by the Sangh Parivar since the BJP government came to power.
The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was helplessly looking at the BJP, the alliance partner to take action against the ministers. The fact of the matter is that it is the Chief Minister who should have taken action against the defiant cabinet colleagues immediately. Then came a fiat from the Prime Minister when the ministers who damaged the very credibility of the government tendered their resignations. The alleged attempt of the lawyers who prevented the police to file the charge sheet attracted the attention of the Supreme Court which taking suo motu cognizance of unruly behaviour of the lawyers in Kathua and Jammu warned them and said such action amounted to obstruction of access to justice. Legal circles say warning will not suffice but severe action should be taken against these so-called guardians of the law.
After a long pause of days when he was criticized on this issue and another rape of a Dalit minor for keeping mum, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 13 said the incidents had shamed the nation and no offender would be spared as the government was committed to ensure that victims of the crimes received full justice. “As a society, as a nation, we are all ashamed by this (incident)”, the Prime Minister said. This comment from the Prime Minister on the incidents that shook the nation came on the occasion when he was addressing a B R Ambedkar memorial function. It is a strict observation of discipline that as long as the PM was silent, no minister did comment on these ugly happenings.
In another rape crime the UP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was allegedly involved. He was named by the Dalit minor victim when she attempted to commit suicide before the residence of the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanant. The crime was committed last year and only to lodge complaint she had to run from pillar to post. After filing her case, her father was arrested and was allegedly beaten to death in police custody. The legislator was a big shot and the Yogi’s law and order machinery was reluctant to arrest him. His brother was also allegedly involved and he was arrested. However in UP where according to the CM there is no jungle raj, Supreme Court had to express its anger over the issue for the long arm of the law to do its duty and the accused was arrested. Both these cases show that power has gone to the head of BJP leaders.