Civil Society, Women's Commission mute at rape cases in JK

Seven days later her body was found near the forest. The minor girl had been raped and then murdered.

SHAFAQ SHAH
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 24 2018 12:55AM | Updated Date: Jan 24 2018 12:55AM
Civil Society, Women's Commission mute at rape cases in JKRepresentational Pic

Why are the women’s commission and civil society groups silent on the rape of two minor girls in the state?

On January 10, Ashifa Bano, an eight-year-old girl from Hiranagar area of Kathua district, went into a forest to graze her family’s horses but didn’t return home. 

Seven days later her body was found near the forest. The minor girl had been raped and then murdered.

The pictures of her lifeless body went viral on Facebook, but this time there were no protests on the streets, no candle-light vigil and no word of condemnation from the women’s commission.

But, the news about the child’s rape and murder did trigger outrage in Jammu province, especially among the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals. And some protests were also held by the opposition leaders in the assembly, prompting the government to order a magisterial probe into the rape and murder of the girl.

A couple of days later, the police announced the arrest of a 15-year-old who they said confessed to the crime. 

But the women’s commission has maintained a studied silence about the developments of the case. There has been outrage on the social networking sites, but the civil society groups have not been as vigorous in their protest as they are about some issues.

“A poor tribal girl has been raped. This would not have attracted the attention of the civil society,” said Atif, a banker.

A couple of days ago, a seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped by the father of her close friend at Harde Aboora village of Magam area. In this case too, the outrage mainly remained restricted to the village and random social media users.

 “When the minor Pakistani girl Zainab was raped and murdered many social media users used her picture as their profile photo. Such outrage was missing in Ashifa’s case?” said Muhammad Arif, a teacher. 

“In Kashmir we seem to be concerned only when someone is killed by the forces. We don’t react to other crimes,” he said.

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