A cursory glance through the police charge-sheet against the accused in Kathua rape and murder case is enough to send a chill down ones bones. The eight year old girl was recurrently sedated and gang-raped by the grown men over the week that she was held in captivity in a temple. It now turns out that it was Sanji Ram, a former revenue official, who had meticulously planned the horrible crime. He had recruited his son Vishal Kumar, sixteen year old nephew, the SPO Deepak Khajuria and a cop among others to carry out the crime. The minor had been deliberately chosen to have a role in the abduction and killing of the girl, so that if he was later arrested he would be let off with an easier punishment.
The objective of the crime, it has now turned out, was to drive out the Bakerwals from the area. But the plan didnt work out along the expected lines. The minor was soon arrested and upon his interrogation, the criminal conspiracy was soon unravelled. What, however, has shocked everybody is the massive protest in support of the accused. Why should a section of people rally around the alleged rapists and murderers and sustain a campaign in their defence over more than two months? Why should a ruling party support the protest? At one level, the answer to these questions seems understandable, traceable to the polarizing politics of the area. At another level, it is equally inexplicable: no politics, not even the one championed by the extreme right-wing would normally countenance a public mobilization in defence of the people accused in gang-rape and murder of an eight year old girl.
Analytically speaking, it appears there is much more to the crime than meets the eye. Perhaps, there are some more people out there who feel threatened by a free and fair investigation. Being a ruling party, the BJP should have been in the forefront of facilitating investigation in the case and ensuring that the justice was done to the family of the victim. It is horrible when a minor girl is raped and murdered. It is appalling when the crime is politicized. But it is unthinkable when a campaign is started in support of the accused. There is something that is particularly rotten and unedifying about this state of affairs. It is time that the top leadership of the party stops being ambiguous and ambivalent about the inherently evil nature of the protests supporting the accused. and supports unconditionally the cause of justice in the case. Not doing so, will set one more bad political precedent and push the politics of the state to a new moral low, from which it wont be easy for it to extricate itself.
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