Rape as a means of political subjugation has not been new in the country. It has always existed in politically sensitive areas. Incidents of rape as a political tool keep getting reported by human rights groups from the conflict prone areas in the country – whether in North-east or in Kashmir or Chhattisgarh. Rape has always been used as a political tool to subjugate people of a certain region, community, race to ‘fall in line’ with the ‘national mainstream’ or dominant or majority groups. While human rights groups make voices critiquing such incidents, the social conscience of Nation hardly gets aroused.
What is shocking with Kathua incident is the open support that gets extended to the rapists by the mob which takes out the rally and the statement given in their favour by the Ministers in the State Government. The bar association supposed to protect law through their understanding of jurisprudence instead support the criminals. They even try to prevent crime branch from filing a charge-sheet. During the rally, even the national flag is used. In the ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ sponsored rally, the National flag is carried.
It becomes difficult to digest as to how does an act of ‘crime’ and support to the criminals represent a nationalist act? How do such fanatic groups view ‘acts of hatred’, ‘inhumanity’, ‘barbarism’ as a nationalist act. It does show that criminal incidents happening in the name of ‘Nation’ or ‘Nationalism’ or ‘Religion’ is taken for granted. This communal nationalism lens makes one only blind. Sense of prevalence of act of crime or its intensity and violence being inflicted is not realised. A barbaric and violent act gets driven by ‘hatred’ and ‘lust’. No sense of repentance exists on the side of the ‘communal criminal’ or their supporters. The simple sense of a gruesome violence being inflicted on a harmless child loses its meaning by the inflictor of violence.
The emerging environment that is being created by the Centre only shows that there is an increase in spaces for legitimising such acts. Not only are such incidents going to be tolerated, but not acted upon. Aren’t these the signs of emerging ‘Hindutva terror’? The danger posed by this terror is such that it has not remained restricted to a fanatic group named ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’. But that it has penetrated the State institutions. The Executive represented by the Ministers come out in support of the criminal act. The bar association representing the judiciary try to prevent action against the criminals.
Isn’t the Hindutva terror slowly poisoning the minds? Isn’t the venom spreading across all organs of the state institutions and creating a slow death of the Nation as defined in the Constitution. Isn’t talibanisation of Indian society happening through the drivers of ‘Hindutva terror’? In this madness, human beings gets reduced to their identities and one tries to establish their supremacy and control by terrorising the other. Human identity is replaced by a religious identity. The different religious identities are seen as something at war with each other and something to be finished by eliminating the other by whatever means.
The act of crime taking place in a temple further shows that the thin line between ‘faith’ and ‘hatred’ has completely broken down. Places for expressing devotion or religious faith by believers have been converted into ‘secret places’ where crime can be performed without suspicion. The sense of profane is lost.
Khatua incident is slowly leading to citizen responses. Parallels of the same is being drawn with the Nirbhaya incident. While the act of ‘rape’ by itself needs to be critiqued, it might be perhaps also important to recognize and critique the Hindutva angle to it. Talibanisation of Indian society through Hindutva groups, where such acts are justified in the name of ‘religion’ or ‘nation’ needs to be disallowed.
T Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher