Kathua: how a heinous crime was given political and religious colour with a one-sided narrative

An eight year old girl, was raped and killed in January. The obvious sentiment is that the culprits must be punished, regardless of which religion they belong to. Nothing more needs to be said about it. In a relatively sane country, that is.

Let’s widen the context now. What happened with the girl was horrible. What happened after that was dreadful. The case was handed over to the crime branch of the J&K Police.

The team started picking up male residents of the village randomly and tortured them on the pretext of interrogation. No prizes for guessing from which community the poor boys were from. Now, the locals demanded that the case be transferred to CBI for a fair and independent investigation. Note that the demand was for a “fair” investigation, not an end to the inquiry. By February, Hindus started to leave their homes.

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You would’ve expected the state government to take note of the problem especially when the women of Hiranagar sat on a fast-unto-death. Notice they did after a few days when the fasting women appeared to be inching closer to death. They promptly had them picked up and forcibly shifted to a hospital in Hiranagar. Four other women replaced them and continued the fast. The BJP leaders issued some silly statements of solidarity with the people of Hiranagar. Of course, they did nothing concrete for them.

Let’s widen the context further. As the people of Jammu began to create more ruckus, they naturally extended their agitation to highlight the larger issue of demographic threat to Jammu on account of the Rohingyas. Though interestingly it has been alleged that were first settled in Jammu not during the UPA government, but under the benevolent gaze of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure as PM.

Rohingyas are the new untouchables. I mean that in a positive way. Somewhere in between all this futile activism, there was heavy shelling by Pakistan on border areas in the Jammu province, which also led to a similar exodus from places like Rajouri, with about 40,000 people fleeing their homes and taking shelter in places like rehabilitation camps.

The empty villages are ideal for our guests to settle comfortably in. But with the J&K bar association joining the civilians in the protest against this assault on demography in the areas surrounding urban Jammu, the issue threatened to get out of control. Indeed a bandh called earlier this week was hugely successful.

This was a signal for the media sponsored virtue-signalling industry also called the Lutyen’s ecosystem to get their act together. They suddenly discovered that a little girl was raped in some obscure village in a remote district called Kathua. The headlines in newspapers like The Washington Post read, “Hindu ‘nationalists’ defend accused rapists and shame India”. Hindu Nationalists? Like seriously?

It took them three months to discover the horrific incident and one day to kill a legitimate struggle for justice. That’s the power of the narrative. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also ordered a probe to see if the conditions of Rohingya refugee camps are up to the mark. The Rohingyas are here to stay. Why not? Atithi Devo Bhava.

Editor’s note: This article is a reproduction of a Facebook Post by Ashish Dhar with his permission, with a few minor modifications.

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