The trial in the rape and murder of a 8-year old girl in Kathua, J&K begins today in the Sessions court. The probe in the rape of a minor girl in Unnao district, UP is also going on. A similar incident from Surat has come to light where a minor girl was raped for days and then murdered. In Rajasthan, the rape of a minor girl in a state-run school has also surfaced. These incidents have shaken the basis of the ethics our society has been built on. People have taken to the streets across the country to demand justice for India’s daughters and rightly so.
The rapes in Unnao and J&K have sparked major protests not just in the nation but worldwide. Many Indian student communities in United Kingdom have written to Prime Minister Modi demanding justice. The Unnao case brings forth the complete failure of the administration in filing a case against the accused BJP MLA. On the other hand, a rape and murder of minor girl in Kathua has brought out a larger narrative that the country is fighting. The one of hate crimes against minorities. The girl who was abducted, drugged, gang-raped and then murdered, and this was supposed to be a lesson to her minority Muslim community in the region. The rape which was orchestrated in a temple of worship reeks of an ideology the country no longer wishes to put up with. Lawyers were prevented from fighting her case. A rally was organized by Hindu Ekta Manch to protect eight people who were accused in the case. Even now, the lawyer who is fighting the case of the girl fears for her life. The family in Unnao is scared to go home fearing for their life. Notably, the father of the girl died in police custody.
That false ideology that is leading to such crimes is what this nation needs to fight. People are being asked to not politicize the crime in Unnao when the basis of the lag in even filing an FIR was political. So yes, it will be made political because the lack of action in ensuring justice was political.
The PM comfortably sits on a plane headed towards Britain while Amit Shah conveniently refuses to ‘speak on the matter on the street’; which is why we need to keeping aside politics and religion and fight. We need to protest. We need to protest now and we need to take the streets. The need is to build continuous pressure on a government that is lax and protects perpetrators of such heinous crimes. We need to oust a government and an ideology which legitimizes the use of violence and rape in everyday lives. We need to vote out the party, leaders of which think they are above the law. We need to stand united in this fight against people who use power at their disposal against others.
Protesting on the streets is a battle. But there is a greater war that awaits us. Even after Nirbhaya, we have continuously failed the women of our country. For this, we should apologise. The war is with our own selves. This will require freeing ourselves from the shackles of the norms on how we treat women; freeing ourselves by striving towards an equal society.