I’ve deliberately maintained silence over the Kathua rape case to let the dust settle before making a few comments. This should take 7-10 minutes to read, so please do.
I wrote about the state of women in India back in 2012 and not much has changed since then.
First, let’s examine a few facts about the case:
1. Contrary to popular reports, the victim was not a Kashmiri girl and the rape did not happen in Kashmir. She was a ‘bakarwal’ from the Jammu hills and the rape happened in the Jammu/Kathua region, which borders Punjab. Why is this important? Because unless we clarify, Asiya becomes (as she did) a tool used by leftist and Kashmiri jihadis to spread venom against the ‘Hindu state of India’. The Washington Post reported this story 7 times not including Barkha Dutt’s typically insidious and deceitful article: https://wapo.st/2KqarJG. Almost all the focus is on the religion of the victim and the supposedly questionable behavior of the Hindus. Other examples include:
2. She was not raped ‘in a temple’. Ok, she might have been raped inside a small shack (almost resembles a toilet from the outside) with a photo of some deity inside it, but the constant stress on the place of the crime gave away the ulterior agenda of those criticizing the govt./the right at large. Reference to a ‘temple’ conjures up a certain image in the minds of those not familiar with India as such, such as the West, and such news, to them, read as if someone was raped inside Tirupati or Kashi Vishwanath, if you get what I mean. The name or religion of the person and the place of the crime are incidental to a serious case such as this (unless there is evidence of a systematic use of an institution, such as churches in the West where young boys have been raped by lecherous priests for millennia).
3. The fact that a FIR and the subsequent charge sheet was filed 6 months after the crime shows the despicable state of the Indian police system and judiciary at large. However, this was not the case because the victim was a Muslim or that the accused were Hindus. This is the case in almost all rural areas of India, especially when the accused are more powerful than the victim (like in the Unnao rape case in UP where the accused is an MLA).
4. Unfortunately for Barkha Dutt, the ‘right wing’ did not support the rapists (I asked her to substantiate her claims that Hindu nationalists support the rapist, but she didn’t). No sane person will support a rapist. The protesters in Jammu were demanding a CBI inquiry into the matter; since when did asking for a CBI inquiry mean supporting the accused? The fact is that our police force is in a woeful state and in this case, some policemen are part of the charge sheet! How can you rely on them to not botch up the investigation. Whether the case deserves a CBI inquiry or not (in my opinion, it doesn’t) is another story, but asking for one does not mean you support the rapist! Moreover, if someone was indeed obstructing the course of justice, the police should take stringent action against them and again, no sane person will object to this. Generalizing these to ‘Hindus’ and tying it, inexplicably, to the BJP/Modi is again part of an ulterior agenda.
However, I sincerely wished that the vocal Hindus on the internet did not respond to the depravity of the left + Jihadi nexus in the same manner. Posting examples of other rape cases, blaming the media for selective biases, or posting unverified and often incorrect information at a critical juncture like this does more harm than good to the Hindu cause. Every rape is heinous and every rape deserves the same attention, not of the media (that will never happen), but of the authorities. That must be our focus. This is supposedly our government; and we must take them to task in failing to do what they should be really doing (mandir toh waise bhi nahi banayenge).
The question of ‘Modi’s silence’, highlighted repeatedly in Indian and Western media, is also a distraction. What do you expect the PM to say? Obviously, any public figure holding such a high office will condemn the act and promise action. There are around 25000 reported rapes in India each year; that equals to around 2000 cases a day. Should the PM comment 2000 times a day? Or perhaps comment once for every 2000 cases? Or once a month? This is a non issue. I don’t care what he or anyone else says. I care about what they do.
The anger of the general public is understandable. They yearn for change in this area but don’t see any tangible work happening. India’s overall crime rate has been remarkably consistent across governments. The governments (both the Central and the J&K state in this case) shift the attention from the real problem – the torpor of the judicial and police system – by coming up with stupid ideas such as death penalty for child rapists. One more law that will achieve nothing. 27 million cases are pending in the lower courts of India. 3.8 million are with the high courts. 95000 are in the Supreme Court (it has ~25 judges). The ‘Nirbhaya’ rape convicts, who are on the death row, still have their review petition lying with the SC, 6 years after the crime that got SO much national attention.
The focus should be on reforming the police and the judiciary. Where are the women police officers who are supposed to be at every police station across India? Where are the fast track courts that are to deal with crimes against women? Where is the budgetary allocation for creating and training a team of forensic experts specifically tasked with such cases? And more importantly, where are the people who ask the government these questions, instead of just choosing political sides? Where is the political will?
India has the lowest police to population ratio of any major nation (just talking numbers, forget the quality). In 2015, the Lok Sabha was told that the Indian police system is short of nearly half a million officers + constabulary. Similar is the story with the judiciary, which as noted, is swarmed with work but inadequate resources (approximately 17 judges per million people). In fact in India, the phrase ‘go to the court’ is used to scare off people, for a petitioner knows that justice will probably evade him/her if they do go to the court and the whole exercise will probably be a waste of time and money.
Then there is the proposed stupidity that a rape trial should be concluded in 2 years! Without reforming the police and the judiciary, this will be suicide. The police will, as they indeed do even today, find & accuse hapless people to save their skin. Millions of cases are simply offloaded to the trial courts by an inept police force that doe not even do lip service to the investigation. 55% of all cases in India end up in an acquittal. The conviction rate for rape cases is ~28%. Additionally, even if someone is sentenced to death, do you think they will accept the sentence and await atonement? They’ll petition the next court and the next. Essentially, every serious rape case will end up in the Supreme Court and then at the President’s desk! This is not reform, this is madness.
And the hopeless leadership of this country, including the current cabinet (at least on this matter) is behaving in a way that befits their ordinary IQs. I don’t expect much from the leftist + Jihadi nexus (represented politically by the Congress), but the Hindu right, who support the BJP and Modi on virtually everything, need to cut through the crap and start asking their leaders some hard questions.