The news about the rape and murder of an ill-fated eight-year-old girl child, Asifa Bano sent shock waves among the people across Jammu Kashmir. Asifa, who hails from Kathua district, was allegedly abducted, raped and then killed in broad daylight. According to the reports, the girl had marks of violence on her body.
The incident was not the first one but third awful in recent times. One was reported from Kasur in Punjab province of Pakistan, second from Panipat in Haryana.
In Kasur, another eight-year-old girl, Zainab was raped and murdered, sending shock waves across Pakistan and neighboring countries. In yet another, almost similar incident, a 7th standard student, a Dalit girl, was found dead on the outskirts of Panipat district’s Urlana village on January 15. According to the police report, the girl was gang raped and murdered allegedly by two of her neighbours.
Though Asifa-like cases are not common in our State, the incident raised many question. The questions like where is our society heading toward? Was this incidents avenging tactics against a particular community or this is the beginning an era with an insecure atmosphere and crimes. The condemnations against this incident poured in from every corner of the society. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed outrage, members of the opposition parties in the Legislative Assembly staged a walkout. The Gujjar community, to which the girl belonged protested, the civil society is enraged, and social media is abuzz with sympathies for Asifa and her family.
Despite so much reaction, the family of the victim seems far away from getting justice. Asifa, who belonged to the nomadic family, was whisked away by a ‘goon’ whose father is close to a political party. That is perhaps the reason Police did not act even after the family lodged a report and made no effort to trace her. The inspector of J&K Police was suspended only after there was uproar in the Assembly. Had the Assembly not been in session, in all likelihood the case might have been hushed up under political pressure. Except for usual statements that show concern, not much was done initially and the case was later handed over to Crime Branch and that too again after disruption in the Assembly.
In our society, we can expect a sooner justice from our lawmakers. However, unanswered questions still remain in our minds. Are our daughters safe in this society? Aren’t these incidents a collective shame for us?