Kathua, Unnao rape cases: Mr Modi action is needed

The ruling BJP did not take note of the crime against women until the Opposition, Civil society, media and the celebrities raised the inaction by the government against the powerful men accused of rape.
Kathua Rape Case

Unprecedented  and shocking incidents are happening in Independent India where BJP ministers and lawyers are defending the rapists of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath didn’t allow the police to arrest BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar on the allegations of rape made by a 17-year-old girl on the grounds that case is being probed.

Compelled by the Congress to speak up on the ongoing incidents of rape cases that have jolted India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the country that no culprit would be spared and complete justice would be done. “Our daughters will definitely get justice,” said the Prime Minister.

Union Minister Smriti Irani termed Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s candle march as an “attempt to politicise” the incidents and said: “As a woman, I request victim-shaming to be stopped.”

Smriti must understand that shaming is being done by the ruling party at the Centre, who allow respective BJP governments in the states to embolden the accused and are encouraging the rape culture with no justice for the victim in sight.

“Hindu Ekta Manch” held a rally holding Indian tricolor flag in Jammu with full police protection against the arrest of a ‘rapist and murderer’ shows a glaring example of how ruling regime has crossed every limit of humanity and ethics.

The girl’s father Mohd Yousuf lodged a complaint on January 12 at the Hiranagar station that his daughter who “had gone for grazing horses in the nearby forest on January 10” and had not returned.

On 17th January dead body of Asifa was recovered. On January 22, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.

The most alarming situation was witnessed when lawyers from one community on April 9 prevented the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir police from presenting a chargesheet against the seven accused in the brutal gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakarwal girl in the court and instead were able to file the chargesheet on April 11.

The Modi government at the Centre and the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are defending the BJP leaders Lal Singh Chaudhary and Chander Prakash Ganga who supported the protests that were led by a group called “Hindu Ekta Manch” supporting the Rapists. Now, there are reports that the two BJP ministers in Jammu and Kashmir who joined rallies in support of the Kathua accused on Friday resigned.

The accused included 60-year-old Sanji Ram, a former revenue official, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj, civilian Parvesh Kumar and Sanji’s minor son Vishala.

Image result for The protesting lawyers alleged that the Muslim nomads were trying to alter the demographics of Jammu
Lawyers protest on behalf of the accused

The protesting lawyers alleged that the Muslim nomads were trying to alter the demographics of Jammu. The entire incident was given a communal or religious angle that triggered communal tension and protests in the state so as to divert the attention of the country from the brutal gang-rape and murder of a minor girl from a Bakarwal community.

The ruling BJP did not take note of the crime against women until the Opposition, Civil society, media and the celebrities raised the inaction by the government against the powerful men accused of rape.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a candlelight vigil at midnight  against the ruling BJP government for shielding the culprits in the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and to protest the growing crimes against women in the country.

Hours after his midnight candlelight march at India Gate, Congress chief said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” over the rape incidents in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao was “unacceptable”.

The Modi ministers have started issuing statements one by one after the civil society, Bollywood personalities and the Opposition have questioned the type of nationalism being displayed by the ruling dispensation.

Taking Suo-Moto Cognisance of the conduct of lawyers in Kathua rape case, the Supreme Court on Friday said access to justice can’t be impeded by lawyers. The top court issued a notice to Bar Council of India and also to Jammu HC Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association.

On the contrary, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Opposition of communalising the Kathua and Unnao rape incidents and said they should not have protested until an investigation was conducted. Modi government should realize that in Kathua rape case, it took three months for the crime branch to file the charge sheet and in Unnao rape case it took 10 months to file an FIR. It was after sharp criticism from opponents and public outcry that an FIR was lodged against  BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 and POCSO Act.

Giving a childish argument to the media, Bharatiya Janata Party MP and spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: “The two BJP ministers were misled by a few people.”

It is pertinent to mention that in 2013,  controversy broke out when two news portals released CDs of purported telephonic conversations between then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah, who was then state Home Minister, and two top state police officials relating to snooping on a woman in 2009.

Maneka Gandhi said that she intends to ask for the death penalty for those who rape children below 12 years of age. “Am deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua, and all the recent rape cases. I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act asking for the death penalty for the rape of children below 12 years of age,” said Maneka. POCSO is the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The most important point is that the victim’s families continue to live under threats especially when the accused enjoy political power or patronage.

In a democracy, when government fails to perform its duties, the Judiciary, independent and important pillar, is bound to restore the faith of the people.

Blog : By Arti Bali,

(Senior Journalist)

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