From Kashmir we can grasp what befell Damini
Young woman gang raped in a moving bus in New Delhi has sent shockwaves across India. The poor girl is battling for life in a Delhi hospital. People of the Kashmir Valley too have expressed outrage over the incident and have expressed solidarity with the victim and her family members.
Members of Majlis-e-Mashwarat, an amalgam of various organizations which spearheaded the agitation to seek justice in the case of Neelofar and her teenage sister-in-law Aasiya, who were allegedly raped and murdered in Shopian area in 2009, recently held a sit-in at Shopian to express solidarity with the Delhi gang rape victim.
Protesters said that they could feel the pain of Damini and her parents as they too have undergone the same trauma. However, there is a vast difference between Damini’ s case and Shopian case. Criminals involved in Delhi gang rape case were arrested within a few hours after they committed the heinous crime and they are cooling their heels in the jail. On the other hand the perpetrators involved in Shopian double rape and murder case were not even identified and the case was closed.
Similarly, an entire village of Kunanposhpora in frontier district of Kupwara witnessed a horrific nightmare in early nineties when men in uniform went berserk and outraged the chastity of the women of the entire village. Victims are still waiting for justice.
Rape is a heinous crime and it should not be tolerated. Protesters who are on the roads in New Delhi are demanding that rapists should be hanged in full public glare so that no one dares to indulge in such a heinous act. Damini’s plight has united the entire India and everyone seems to be on the same page. One wonders when such incidents take place in J&K why no one in shaken, including the media and the civil society in India? Is it that the Kashmiris are not humans? Or is it that everything is fair in war? Indian civil society needs to answer these questions. During past 20-years many rape incidents which took place in Kashmir have not been taken notice of. Many cases were brushed aside even without FIR being lodged.
Recently police booked a disabled girl, Zahida, in south Kashmir for allegedly pelting stones on “mighty policemen” during 2010 unrest. Poor girl was detained for entire night in the police station that too two years after she had “disturbed law and order.” She had sustained bullet injuries in her leg in the police action. Despite passing of two years no one knows who among the men in uniform fired upon Zahida, but state remembers that she “pelted stones.” What an irony!
One wonders how can an unarmed girl pose a threat to law and order that too two years after the incident? No one raised his or her voice against Zahida being kept in jail for the entire night. For Indian media it was no news.
Kashmiris by expressing solidarity with Damini have proved that they don’t believe in double standards. For them Damini is like Aasiya, Neelofar and Zahida. Indian media and civil society should take a note of it and it should shun its double standards. They need to take a note of how rights of women are violated in Kashmir and should stand by them.
Everyone wants exemplary punishment for Delhi rape accused so that it serves as an eye opener for other criminals. One hopes that case is not dragged for years and the victim gets justice fast, as justice delayed is as good as justice denied.