Fury among diaspora over the stomach-turning details of the heinous crimes, the political motives behind them, and the patronage given to the accused.
THE Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world in expressing its outrage and disgust over the gang-rape and murder of 8-year old Asifa Bano in January, as well as the rape of the 17 year old Dalit girl in Unnao, UP. The ghastliness and brazenness of the crimes has been coupled with outrageous attempts by Hindutva goons to protect the perpetrators.
Asifa Bano, belonging to the Bakarwal community in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was kidnapped, drugged and brutally gang raped for three days. Her strangled body that was found on January 17, 2018 bore mute testimony to the inhumanity of her tormentors.
Police reports indicate Asifa was locked inside a temple and repeatedly raped for three days and finally strangled to death. The perpetrators, including the temple custodian have been apprehended, and the police have DNA evidence linking the men to the crime. Their motive was apparently to push Asifa’s community away from the area. Furthering the violence carried out by the four men, a mob of BJP-affiliated lawyers blocked the police officers from making their way to file the police report, making bogus claims that the men would not get due process.
This was done as part of a premeditated terror tactic to drive out a Muslim nomad community to which Asifa belonged. Different arms of the local government and political groups colluded to subvert the initial investigation and are using extrajudicial means to protect the accused.
In the case the of 17-year Dalit girl from Unnao village in UP, a powerful BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sehgar raped her last year and intimidated her whole family against complaining to the police. The family had to flee for safety to Delhi but her old father persisted in lodging the complaint. As a result he was tortured and killed in cold blood while in police custody. Despite prima facie evidence, the administration of Yogi Adhityanath did not place the culprit under arrest, until after a week of sustained public outrage, and international media attention.
During a recent interview given to media the girl broke down and even fainted while narrating the horror “Jaise papa ko maara tha. Woh joota pehan leta hai. Aur jalte hue cycle ka tyre chhua chhua ke maarta hai. Paani daal daal ke maarta hai” (He would torment people the way he killed my father. He puts on his boots and uses burning bicycle tyres to torture his victims).” In an act of extreme depression the victim even tried to burn herself outside the residence of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath.
“Asifa’s and Unnao rape survivors horror stories are examples that illustrate cowardly attempts to protect the beasts who committed these heinous acts. Moreover the Hindu Ekta Manch rally in Jammu is a low point in the history of the country where obstruction of justice and rewarding rapists have become new benchmarks in service to religious fascism,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “We call upon the state and central governments to demonstrate their own humanity, by holding the perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law,” added Mr. Khan.
This is the most ghastly tragedy in a pattern of brutalities against Muslims and Dalits under the current regime. Anti-Muslim and Dalit rhetoric has become mainstream. The political motivations behind these heinous crimes are often euphemistically expressed in prime time television by the ruling party’s spokespersons and associates.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.