Zainab and Aasifa: Living In Darker Times
It gives me a deep pain to write on the above-captioned subject but I deem it my moral duty as a member of the society to raise the voice and condemn. The irony is how the same crime is dealt in two different nations. The rapist & murderer of Zainab in Pakistan has been convicted and awarded four death sentences within 24 days. However, in Jammu, the right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch, along with the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party’s state secretary, are coming blatantly on roads waving the national flag in support of Aasifa’s rapist & murderer to vindicate him of the charges of heinous crime. Though two similar incidents, treated differently in Pakistan and India. Since Pakistan is tagged as a ‘failed state’; India, in contrast, is being glorified as ‘World’s Largest Democracy’. Here rapists are protected and vindicated by black laws, and rape victims are strongly deterred from bringing the matter to the court of Justice through hooliganism and the fear of being punished for filing the rape suit especially if the victim is from an economically or socially marginalized community. The victim growls like the bears and mourns like the doves, but justice is turned back and righteousness stands at a distance. What can be more disgraceful and deplorable than this?
Looking at the Asifa’sheart wrenching issue from minority and outcast aspect, I would like to quote and incorporate here the Coequal Preamble of J&K and Indian Constitution which reads as:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
in our constituent assembly this 26th day of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The irony is how we, while calling the Indian nation as the democratic republic; ignore Justice, maul Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity which is written in bold letters in both the constitutions of Centre and State. So, what to expect from those political leaders who could not respect the constitution.It clearly shows how Indian Constitution has been politically manipulated that now anybody can commit an appalling crime and later on the miscreant is exculpated by fabricated evidence. Although the Indian constitution bans discrimination on the basis of caste; the social, religious and cultural practice of “untouchability” continues unabated. We go hysterical and trending knee-jerk reaction on a minor incident with the “celebrity” or “bigwig” but keep tight lipped and stay away when it comes to some “outcast” or common person’s grave issue. A person who has no political or celebrity links is dragged from one court to another to get justice and still there is no or least possibility that he/she would be served the same. Pertinent to mention here, two months back, a Kashmir origin Bollywood actress, Zaira Wasim shared her ordeal on social media and claimed she was groped by a passenger on a Vistara Delhi-Mumbai flight. Her story engrossed and monopolized the TV Channels and top Bollywood actors and Actresses, Celebrities, and Socialites took to social media to express their rage after teenage actress Zaria Wasim recounted her mid-air molestation nightmare. But, the tragedy of the snake bit victim fromthemarginalised nomadic Muslim community was mopped by putting the case in the dust bin as trash.
Everyone knows how it hurts when a mother leaves a baby for some minutes and; now imagine how the mother of Aasifa who lost her forever, would be feeling over the merciless rape and murder of her princess. Aasifa’s mother is crying for justice but there are darkness and gloom and she is left groping around walls like blind women.Aasifa’s bruised soul would be mocking at the plastic democracy and our paralyzed institutions of justice.Would like to ask the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Is this how you’re going to take care of girls? What is the use of Beti Bachaoo and BetiPadhao” slogan if you cannot even ensure the safety of a girl child? It is better to kill the baby in the womb than to subsequently become the rape victim. Here Female foeticide and infanticide can be justified because of the prevailing conditions of the India. Who is going to help the minority and helpless victim? If you don’t help the victim, nobody will come ahead. It is not time to politicise & radicalise the issue but to find a strategy to combat the menace once for all. In order to keep the national conscience intact and awakened, the people need to shun their differences and recreate the history as was done in the Nirbaya rape and murder case.
Syed Javaid hails from Midoora Tral and working at SKIMS Medical College Bemina Srinagar