Sorry Asifa…. We Are Shameless!

justice for asifa

A child is a miniature of an adult. A child has an individual existence like any adult in a country. Now, we , in India, successfully marked our unique toned voice for the treatment of rights of children at least above animal rights. Kashmiri 8- year old Asifa was sedated for days together, then raped by a group of “Adults “ having age range of 40s and 60s, of whom one is a temple priest. The charge sheet says “ the crime is carefully planned strategy…” which is appalling. Having no children in India is considered to be a curse while, this case, typically represents having children is a terrible weakness in a family and the family is more prone to victimisation. We have , over a period of time, turned out this society into a place where having children makes family weakest, whereas the fact is that family is one single institution which preserves the values in a society with no materialistic expectations. The case of Asifa posed such a question that the family institution faces threat for a simple reason that it has children in it.

Asifa murder is extraordinarily inhuman for one, the victim’s familiarity with the world is just something similar to a pet at home and victim has no mental strength to plan or resolve, but, there has been systematic “strategy” going around her conniving with Police to murder her. Above all this , the child belongs to a nomadic community in Kashmir. The psychology of looking a weak and feeble man/woman in this country is just next to an inviting thought to victimise them, be it a Dalit or be it a muslim or be it a poor nomad or be it a rag picker.

This country is backward in several areas like education, financial inclusion, employment etc. We build heeps of weaker and weakest sections in the whole world by also being large nation accommodating 134 crore i.e 18% of world population at one place. This gives rise to massive weakest spots in one single geographical location with more or less uniform tormenting psyche of largest (in terms of power positioning and social capital) population of people. Children of the country , that too, in respect of marginalised sections become most vulnerable weak spots in the country.

The accused profile is same – rightist brahminical hindu sections, who consider crime is inevitable to stop something happening in the country. The crime gets glorified when their social capital swings into action and ages of reinvestment of social capital starts to look for earnings through networks like Jammu High Court Bar Association, an elite upper caste lead intellectual section of Jammu and Kashmir. What is notable is – the accused are mainly from “ Dogra” community, who are typical localised savarnas extending rock-bed communal support to Kashmiri Pandits. The antoganisation of muslims by Savarnas , post-independence, rests on mutual killings and atrocities of hindumuslims during partition time. J&K was considered as a ‘ kichdi’ problem , then, considering population majority is of muslims while ruler was Hindu. Babasaheb Ambedkar was vehemently opposing unification of J&K on special terms into Indian Union except otherwise if it had happened in general formula of majority-minority. However, the populist decision of Jawaharlal Nehru perpetuated the problem of ‘Kichdi’. Every fight in the street between two communities find its routes somewhere to this ‘Kichdi’ problem.

The profiles of accused is not that of rich class, though. The courage to commit such heinous crime comes out of the social capital they possess and , in real terms, the accused do not have so much of large sums of money to do such an extraordinary crime. The confidence to get connected to the supporting political sections and the reliance to rope in anti-muslim forces in the state and the country, drawing moral support from educated and highly placed intellectual sections , which largely upper castes, shapes their awkward effrontery.

As per National Crime Record Bureau, about 150 children go missing every year. India recorded about 12% CAGR in crimes against children in the period 2006-2012 and 30% CAGR thereafter. Of all the crimes committed against children, nearly 20% constitutes rape. This is appalling to know and we are yet to wake up to the fact that the children and especially girl children are at an uncommon risk. And, of course there is no need to additionally bring up, large sections of these children are not from gated communities or from privileged castes. There has been a counter argument that these victimised children are anyways are the resultant victims of their parents’ enemies. Point is that – these statistics nearly make India ‘sick’ who identifies girl children with their genitals.

What anyone can observe during any sort of ideological argument which the rightist braminical forces keep raising an issue that Kashmiri Pandits had the same insecurity and lived in same dire conditions at some point of time 25 years back. One needs to observe that the real figures of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits is actually not authentically available. The figures may range from 1 lakh to 2 lakh people in the valley where muslims are substantially dominating in numbers and significant insurgence of Islam labelled extremists are present, especially in early 90s. The purpose is not to trivialise any ingenuine torment against anyone but to distinctly take note that – the problem of Kashmiri pandits finds roots in their political and financial dominance while that is not the same case with muslims. The perpetrators of child rape are from elite castes and power snarled sections. The victim is from nomadic family and , obviously, no nomad comes from Brahmin caste or any privileged caste sections. The case of Kashmiri Pandits was mere a consequence of Islamisation of territory by Islam advocating terrorists but not on account of a systematic sabotage of the state against Hindus, in general. Atleast, there are people like ‘Dogras’ who were very much willing to provide base to Kashmiri Pandits. We never see one Kahsmiri Pandit begging in streets but the sight of Kashmiri muslim begging in street is common.

The torture Asifa went is one part and the way the accused gather support from intellectual and political allies is another part which should haunt India. The Constitution Morality remained like a bachelor’s celibacy which is not considered unusual in violation; and which has reasons to understand; and which can be done in private and keep public unaware of the same. The State itself is not keeping a high regarded respect for constitution and finds ways to meddle with the Constitution morality which Ambedkar held in higher position than constitution itself. In Dr.Ambedakar’s words “Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.” Our Brahminical thinktanks have been putting forth, unabashedly, arguments on how the local friction lead to such crime with a tag line condemning it. The State Secretary of BJP openly supports the accused in media and in public. The courage to be shameless emanates from the courage to remain heinous but not remain isolated which is nothing but the treasure of support in terms of social capital the Savarnas built around them for centuries.

There are certain crimes which are beyond comprehension and empathy. Not every crime has direct contribution to GDP. Not every child has direct contribution to state incomes. Children are backbones to family institution. We cannot preserve family institution in its safest mode with such crimes happening around us. This one incident reminds all of us that how sensitively our society is founded while we take pride of one of the fastest growing economies in the world. If we loose a percentage of GDP, that is alright ! But we don’t need to gain it by putting our children at risk.

  • P Victor Vijay Kumar

( Author is an investment banker having interest in social issues. Author can be reached at his facebook id “ P V Vijay Kumar” or mail ID “ [email protected]” )


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