Why It is Not Fair To Smear Asifa’s Plight In A Religious Hue?


Over the past few weeks the commentary is turning almost hoarse on the plight of the eight year old girl, Asifa. The heinous crime committed against her is now taking a religious hue. People suddenly seem to forget the kind of torture that was meted out to an innocent eight year old. Instead a whole new angle of religious inconsistencies is being highlighted.

Strangely I am reminded of the fateful Nirbhaya rape case. Many of the perpetrators of that terrible torture are scot free. The only reason that it is this way is because they were juvenile. But can that in anyway lessen the pain, torture and grief that the entire woman kind suffered at their hands.

Today the same questions again raise their ugly heads. For the first few weeks and months after such a heinous act come to light, we are all outraged. Column after columns are written on the issue, rallies, vigils are held, and there is public protest and then what? In six months all the ranting gives way to an uneasy silence. Again we wait for another such terrible tale to unfold to vent out our anger, frustration and outrage.

But the truth is rape and torture against woman has been used as an instrument to establish supremacy for ages. Across cultures, countries, situations, conflicts, it has been one of the favourite instruments for the perpetrators of crime. Some recent statistics indicate that there are over 100 rape cases in India every day. Almost 4 out of the 10 victims are inevitably minors. But India is not alone in this shameful glory. Globally too rape is a terribly under reported crime. The UN reports indicate that over 35% of women across the world have experienced some kind of physical assault or violence. In some countries this percentage is as high as 70%. In just the EU region, more than 40% of the women folk were subjected to some degree of physical violence. More than 100 million girls have experienced forced intercourse at some point of time, globally.

Sadly this is more than mere number crunching. It is a depiction of gender bias and violence against women in blood. Perhaps that is why, the time has come for us to rise above our shells of religious or geographical allegiance and wage a global war against rape. It is immaterial what religion she belonged to. She can be a Bakarwal, Jat or Syrian hostage in the ISIS Camp. Her suffering is no less than the others.

Whether she is outraged in the very temple where the women are worshipped as Goddess or whether it is in a moving bus, nothing can truly depict their pain, grief and emotional trauma. Perhaps that is why it is time now to actively work towards punishing the offenders in the same currency. We need to expedite out judicial systems but most importantly sensitize our sons about the ignominy of this terrible crime. That I believe will be the true beginning of the end of this heinous crime.  

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