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Saving the girl child, saving a Nation…

By Ananya S Guha

Once again we find children at the receiving end of heinous crimes. The perpetrators are the politicians and officials of state governments. I am speaking of what happened in (Unnao) Uttar Pradesh and  Khatua (Jammu). In both cases people who are supposed to preserve the law have tainted it with bloody hands. In the former, the father of the 16 year old, because his family protested was assaulted, taken to hospital, removed to jail and was brutally killed there. What is the India of saving and educating the girl child? What is the India of the 21st century, the clean India, the India of technology and showy malls? And these people are defended by the Government in the first case and lawyers in the second. Those who talk about history and the primeval instincts of rulers in the past, are shaming their acts, by actually keeping silent and defending these criminals. A sixteen year old and an eight year old have been raped and tortured. Where are all the organizations, especially women’s organisations? The slurs on a nation continue unabated. 

The worst is the attack on children. School buses have been assailed over the issue of a film. Children or young adults are raped; mothers in front of husbands. What is the country coming to? The innocence of children has been traumatized. The trauma engulfs the entire nation. The correspondent reality will be anger. Every situation, every event is politicized. Those holding the bastions of power are only blaming their political rivals. In the Uttar Pradesh case no FIR has been filed against the supposed culprit and the Chief Minister is maintaining a stodgy ( and dodgy) silence, only uttering homilies of how the culprits will be punished. But the culprit  and his brother have been identified. What does he do, he flaunts his power unabashedly, with a crooked and sick smile. The entire country has seen it. And one participant in a TV channel discussion has the temerity to say that in the past he belonged to another political party!

The politics of expediency has gripped the nation in a monstrous way. And these incidents also include raping scheduled caste women. The larger reality is that of atrocities committed against ‘ lower castes’ and the poor. The political strata is now being identified as oppressor with upper caste predilections, and the oppressed being the ‘ lowly ‘ and the poor. In between we have fracas between majoritarian and minority religious groups.

What could be more fractious, caste prone and communal? The country is being divided on every conceivable line: women, caste, religion, ethnic. The majoritarian view is fiendishly upper class and caste. Politicians are pitting one community against another. West Bengal is the latest case in point. In the context of all of the above is actually the need to save the country. The north south divide exacerbated ostensibly by the Cauvery waters dispute has added fuel to the fire.  Mind you, it may not reflect the entire Tamil community as it is orchestrated by political parties. However, Andhra Pradesh is also connected with it as the TDM is whipping up sentiments over the issue of granting special status to the state. This is reminiscent of the situation in Tamil Nadu in the aftermath of independence when the DMK was established. The present situation is peculiarly complex as in the past there has been fall out of ethnic unrest between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka dating back to the 1980s. Again the politicians are raising sensitive issues even if the matter is intermittently sub- judice. 

Education, health and child issues are the last words here. The back burner is power, read political power, and even as the salaries of the country’s legislators are raised, they are not performing their task at all. While some of them are uttering rabid misogynist statements, the others are disrupting Parliament, in both its chambers. Since 2000 Parliament has not been disrupted so viciously as in 2018  thanks to the storming of the well ( like the storming of the Bastille!), all this leading to a severance and infraction of rules. So can the country be ruled, coupled with inept handling by the speakers in both the houses? The way the political leaders are switching allegiances smacks of an ideology bereft of ideology.

So here we have it – division of the country on class, caste, religious and ethnic lines. The symbolic protests by political parties against atrocities on Dalits will remain untenanted symbols. Only those who are the real symbols of such wanton acts will fearfully and then angrily watch and then preside over it across ten states as they did on 2nd April, with crocodile tears flowing from our politicos. And, the tears fall ‘ idly ‘ but perceptibly from a forsaken nation.

Where will the child go to? Whose help will she seek, as her father lies brutally murdered? What education will she get from a reprehensible world around where ruinous destruction in the garb of political acuity and ‘ wisdom ‘ lords over all considerations of law and national diversity? The eight year old who was raped and murdered in Jammu is a symbol of the utter callousness with which the issue was dealt with. It is criminality of the highest order, with lawyers, the guardian angels of law defending the perpetrators. Anger can be the only weapon and a national chorus of protest.

Now coming back to the two specific issues of child rape, in one case also murder, the first in Kathua in Jammu and the second in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. The first happened last year and the girl’s parents were repeatedly protesting to the authorities. The girl even threatened to commit suicide in front of the legislative building. Her father was hauled up, taken to hospital and then to police custody, where he was beaten mercilessly to death in the most grisly manner. Supposedly the brother of the MLA accused in the  rape was complicit in the murder. Even now the matter has not been investigated by the police and handed over to the CBI. Why isn’t the police competent enough to take up the matter? Or are they afraid to incur the wrath of the big wigs? This is a shame and a pathetic commentary of the state of policing in the country. Moral policing however seems to be very forthcoming. And even this moral policing has taken a sorry beating in the case of the 8 year old raped in Jammu. She was taken to a prayer hall, sedated, raped not once but twice or thrice by different persons and then murdered. Two government officials were involved in this murder and insane lust. And what do we find, lawyers protesting and wanting no action to be taken against the criminals, because they say that the issue is deliberately divided on Hindu Muslim lines.

Come on, guardians of the law, at least spout lies intelligently. You all are in cahoots with nefarious people and designs, you all are part of a collective of a  third rate system, which is causing irreparable harm to the country, disintegrating it and you are  ensnared by the  trap laid by the politicos. An eight year old raped and killed, then her body thrown into the forest. One wonders whether in the history of the world such an incident has happened. We as a society have failed this girl, Asifa and should hang our heads in utter shame and sorrow.

 

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