An obscure village Rassana in district Kathua has suddenly become the most debated place for the whole country, albeit for all wrong reasons. Barbaric and heinous crime of gang rape and then brutal murder of a minor and innocent girl of only 8 years of age belonging to Nomad community of Bakerwal. What followed was absolute commotion.
But some questions are to be answered first. She was kidnapped and kept in confinement and repeatedly raped over a period of not less than a week and our police system was not responding. No system was in place from where Home Minister of State could get information and act swiftly to such ghastly situation. Instead, the victim family approached the High Court but by that time the innocent child had lost her life. But please don’t blame system or lack of it. Find easy targets to cover up.
After initial cover up by local police when social media of Kashmir took the issue in big way to project it as hate crime to divide society, the Govt meekly surrendered and directed constitution of SIT by Crime Branch and then persons put in the team fully exposed what was the desire— to appease media and separatists in Kashmir. Prominent amongst members of SIT is a police officer who was involved in raping a girl of minority community and killing her brother in custody in Thathri about a decade back. Crime Branch team coming and harassing the whole village led to mass unrest in people and they demanded that investigation should be done fairly. None defended the culprits though. Demand of impartial investigation gathered momentum and overnight civil society constituted team named Hindu Ekta Manch which put demand for CBI enquiry instead of Crime Branch for whom there was large scale mistrust.
Coming days saw momentum getting strong and spreading to Kathua Hiranagar and Samba and also Jammu as people sensed motive of Crime Branch to create wedge on communal lines and branding one community as devil. With spread of issues spontaneously the political leaders also responded and two ministers were detailed by BJP to go and talk to agitating people. Ministers Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga having listended to people assured them that their point will be put before the Government and that CBI investigation will be in the interest of both victims and culprits. They never supported the accused rather they took a stand that whoever has committed crime should be punished. Matter was taken to Chief Minister but she never wanted to annoy her core constituency, so she shot down the proposal. In the meanwhile sensing reaction of people, Crime Branch got petition filed by victim’s family before High Court for monitoring so as to block the Government from referring the matter to CBI.
Jammu Bar in the meantime took many issues involving sentiments of Jammu people including this issue in its hand as also Rohingyas and tribal notification giving illegal protection to Gujjars and Bakerwals from eviction from encroachment. Bar suspended work in court and during this period, advocate for the victim party continued appearing in the court. BJP, in the meanwhile, passed a resolution in the working committee taking a clear stand that it stands with the victim and sought severe punishment for criminals but maintained that no innocent should be harassed. In its press conference, it clarified that there should be no agitation on this issue, and the matter should be taken to the court instead of public. Bar General House, however, decided to continue with Jammu Bandh seeking assurance from Govt instead.
Another drama which unfolded was the commotion caused by lawyers in Kathua at the time of presentation of challan by Crime Branch, such conduct by lawyers was totally uncalled for. Even if the investigation by Crime Branch was shoddy the proper way was to challenge it in court. Challan was accepted by Magistrate late night as can be seen from instructions from Administrative Judge. An incomplete challan where investigation is half done as such has been accepted because of conduct of Kathua lawyers. And, in the meanwhile, Daughter of Jammu waits in Heavens with moist eyes for justice to be delivered to her.
Media including national media in the meanwhile took the issue in a twisted way by projecting that demand of BJP Ministers for CBI investigation was against victim. One fails to understand how demanding fair investigation is against justice and how CBI is communal. These two Ministers under pressure of media thought it better to resign than to put party to embarrassment.
Now the worst part of the whole scenario started with media projecting Jammu Bar and rather Jammu society as against the interest of the victim and even Supreme Court took cognizance of petition and issued notices to Jammu Bar to check its conduct. So demand of CBI investigation became a crime for Jammu. In the meanwhile, vested elements, Separatists and land mafia has the last laugh as no one will dare to ask them to vacate Govt land occupied by particular community which became victims who are to be protected.