Eight-year-old Asifa was grazing her horses, a scene set out of a children’s book, in beautiful Kathua, when her fairytale became a nightmare. She was ‘selected’ as part of a Hindu ‘religious figure’s plan to dislodge her community, the Bakarwal Community away from Kathua. And this plan included her kidnap, rape and murder. All done with the help of the police and other authorities. This is not a case of ‘India’s daughter as many would like to see it. It is not about a couple of men making sure that their lust is satisfied. The case of Asifa is one of many, where the bodies of women and children are used to send a message or teach an entire community a message.
In every war or riot that happened in history, women and children were raped as a means of taking revenge or even as a means of ‘looting the property’ of the enemy. In the recent child rape, that escapade into another social media outrage of #Justicefor, she was raped only for the name she possessed. Her Muslim Jammu identity is the reason she met with her murder, and all across India, many are agitated, because of this fact alone. So in the end, instead of seeing an 8-year-old child, we see a Muslim being attacked and raped. The fact that many people in Jammu, with the BJP’s support, is rallying in support of the accused be it Sanji Ram or the SPO Deepak Khajuria, and lawyers preventing the police from even filing a charge sheet against them, is proof enough as to how this rape is seen as a move against a particular community, to hurt them and scare them.
While the gang rape of a minor girl is in itself a heinous crime, we turn our attention, to the motive of the same crime, to dislodge or eliminate a community making the whole crime bigger and more heinous. And while, we ask daily the question, why women get raped in India, Asifa has reminded us of a very strong why; for when a community hunts another when one ideology attacks another, the bodies of women and children are seen as nothing but properties to be used and fought with.