Is Politics Over Asifa Case Finally Goading Indian Conscience?

Srinagar—The reprehensible bid by lawyers in Kathua to block the Crime Branch of the police from filing a charge-sheet in the rape-and-murder case of eight-year-old Asifa Bano under the pretext of the demand for a CBI probe, and subsequent calls by some sections in Jammu for a bandh have sparked outrage globally on the social media over the politicization of a heinous crime.

On Thursday, the president of the Indian National Congress and member parliament, Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter “How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil? What happened to Asifa at Kathua is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished. What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child?”

Asifa Bano had been abducted on January 10, drugged, gang-raped and stoned to death, and even held captive in a temple, in a plot, which the police had said was aimed to spark fear in the nomadic Bakarwal community and drive it away from its Rassana village.

“In India, the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl has led to protests by Hindu nationalists — coming to the defense of the accused,” the New York Times World tweeted.

“Is this really the kind of country we want to be known as to the world today? If we can’t stand up now for this 8 year old girl regardless of our gender, caste, colour or religion then we don’t stand for anything in this world.. not even humanity.. makes me sick to the stomach,” wrote tennis champion Sania Mirza.

“Asifa’s eyes haunt me. What depths are we stooping to? Where is our moral compass? Cannot let this rot spread. For the sake of Mother India. Let us be firm about bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice. Let us show we are a law-abiding, law-enforcing country,” writes Former foreign secretary Nirupama Menon Rao.

“We have failed Ashifa as humans. But she will not be denied justice,” tweets General Vijay Kumar Singh, an Indian politician and a retired four-star general in the Indian Army.

“Ashamed appalled and disgusted by fake nationals and fake Hindus. I cannot believe this is happening in my country,” Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor wrote on twitter.

“Indian consciousness was raped in Unnao and then in Kathua. It’s now being murdered in corridors of our stinking systems. Come on ‘Mr System’, show us if you have the (guts) to punish the perpetrators, I challenge you,” writes cricketer Gautham Ghambir.

Veer Das, Indian stand-up comedian on Thursday writes on Twitter, “Dear politicians, I’d like to see every one of you miserable scum and your army of slimy sycophants put your parties and your bullshit aside and do something to make sure that no child ever has to face what this girl did. But you won’t. Because you don’t deserve this country.”

“A 8 year old is drugged, raped & murdered and another one is fighting for justice for herself and the death of her father in custody. We have a choice either raise your voice or be a silent spectator.‘Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone” tweets Bollywood Actor, Riteish Deshmukh

Asifa Bano, an eight-year-old nomad Muslim girl, was abducted, raped and murdered in Hiranagar area of Kathua district on January 10 and her body was spotted by villagers in a nearby forest on January 17.

On January 23, the Mehbooba Mufti government had ordered a probe into the incident and subsequently handed over the case to the Crime Branch of police.

The 18-page charge-sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the chief judicial magistrate’s court Kuthua on Monday said that Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the “Devisthan” (small temple), is listed as the main conspirator behind the crime.

According to the charge sheet, the girl’s father Mohd Yousuf lodged a complaint on January 12 at the Hiranagar station that his daughter had not returned since January 10.

On January 22, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.

The charge sheet states that Ram masterminded the conspiracy to kidnap and, later rape and kill the girl. It further reads that Former revenue official and custodian of Kathua’s Devisthan temple, Sanji Ram, had “separately” tasked his nephew and a policeman with kidnapping 8-year-old Asifa, administering her sedatives, and confining her in Devisthan temple.

“Forensic reports have also corroborated that the victim was kept inside the temple. A strand of hair recovered from Devisthan “matched” with the DNA profile of Asifa.”

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