Dozens of young girls and civil society activists staged a demonstration in the capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) on Thursday, condemning rape and murder of an 8-year old Muslim girl in Khathua.
“Punish the killer of Kathua’s victim,” read a big banner being carried by some of the participants of the demonstration, organized by Jammu Kashmir Pasban-e-Hurriyat (JKPH), an organization of post-1990 migrants from across the Line of Control.
All other girls were holding placards, majority of which depicted the “young victim of perpetrators savagery with a demand for justice for her.”
“India is killer of Kashmiri children. Wake up UN, wake up,” read some other placards.
The girls, many of whom were wearing black headbands inscribed with ‘Justice for . . . ,’ stood up in a circle during their silent protest at a bustling roundabout near local press club named after slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
“India has turned the entire J&K territory into a living hell… But this incident is so shocking and grisly that words fail to describe…More painful are the attempts by India’s fanatic ruling party to hush up the brutal act, which testify how savagely Indian government is victimizing Kashmiri Muslims, regardless of their cast and ethnic affiliations,” said Iqra Awan, a 2nd year pre-medical student from a Kashmiri refugees’ camp.
“While this case has come to fore by a mere chance, I am afraid the way extremists are tyrannizing the Muslim population in Jammu region, there may have occurred many similar unreported incidents in that area,” she added.
Among the protestors was Rabia Mushtaq, a teacher of a private school, who said she was filled with indignation at the latest of a series of hateful crimes committed by occupation forces and their myrmidons.
“From Kunan Poshpora to Shopian to Kathua, J&K has seen one after the other heart-wrenching story of rape having been used as a weapon of war by Indian troops or Hindu extremists in efforts aimed at persecution and ethnic cleansing of Muslims,” she said.
Some placards at the demonstration also referred to Neelofar and Aasiya, seeking justice for them as well.
Speaking on the occasion, JKPH chairman Uzair Ahmed Ghazali said, “If Indian government would have sentenced the people involved in the beastly acts in Kunan Poshpora, Shopian and other areas, innocent girl of Kathua could not have been brutally raped and murdered.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior vice president and former PaK minister Khawaja Farooq Ahmed said, “India had crossed all limits of atrocities in Kashmir and a further silence by the UN and international community could spell disaster for regional peace.”
Condemning the attitude of the Jammu based lawyers “supporting the rapists and killers of the victim”, he said: “Across the world legal fraternity stands justice and human rights but the attitude of Jammu bar has ashamed this profession.”
Prominent among other speakers were Shaikh Aqeelur Rehman of Jamaat-e-Islami, Shaukat Javed Mir of Peoples Party, Ghulam Murtaza Gillani of Muslim Conference, Noshad Ahmed Butt, Usman Ali, Shahnaz Qazi and Mehnaz Qureshi.