Beware: The crowd will turn your children into murderers


By Ravish Kumar

Before trying to learn which direction we are heading to, we need to stop and see where have we reached already?


In the [gang] rape case of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu, our society has itself unmasked its real face [and its parameters]. The pretence that we care for our daughters has been brutally exposed. If you hear the details of the rape of an eight-year-old girl of Kathua you will be convinced that you are living in a dead society and deluding yourself into believing that you are alive.

When the police went to submit a charge sheet in the rape case, the manner in which police station was surrounded and the slogans of Jai Sri Rama were chanted, if you hear about it you will never be able to see Ram into his face. Can it be a coincidence that the rape accused of Unnao, a BJP MLA, Kuldip Singh Sengar has said that even Rama had faced accusations.

Only those who chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogans, not in temples but in political rallies, will be able to tell us where else [in addition to it] would they chant the slogan of ‘Jai Sri Rama’?

The fact [sad as it is] that those who organise rallies in the name of Rama have not shown any unease on this [shameful tragedy] because they know that by doing so their political edifice will crumble to dust. Why on earth does someone think that the chanting of Rama’s name would raise him above the Constitution and the law of the land? If the system can be failed by chanting ‘Jai Sri Rama’, where does the ‘Ram Rajya’ fit in it in which the dream of justice with everyone is shown?

For months I have been warning that in India a crowd is on a standby. This crowd merely waiting for a signal after which it can do anything and can go to any extreme. If you are not alert one day this crowd will drag you along and take you away as well to lynch or make you kill someone without knowing the victim.

An eight-year-old girl was raped three times in a temple. After this an accused also conducted worship and performed rituals. Another accused was called from Meerut. The girl was given drugs after which [gang] rape continued and at last she was strangulated. She died but to make sure that no possibility of any life in her remains, she was hit on head by [heavy] stones on her head. She died. Yes you did hear that right. She did die. Hope you have heard me. She did die.

This is very important that you hear that after being drugged, strangulated and being hit on head with [heavy] stones she died. After this a police personnel says, ‘Stop. I want to rape her once again.’

All this was done to make the Bakarwala Muslim population flee from Jammu. All this has been recorded in the charge sheet and this is from where I am quoting it.

The girl gets kidnapped from Hiranagar area of Kathua. On 17th January her dead body is found in the forest. You heard about this story on 11thApril because as the police went to submit an 11 page long charge sheet, a section of the town came out to surround and blockade them. This was the same crowd that has been standing on standby near you.

To suppress the case the police officer who knew about the whereabouts of the girl was paid Rs one and half lakhs in bribe. The atmosphere in Kathua was polarised so that the Hindu-Muslim controversy could be ignited and [no trace of] what was done to an eight-year old girl disappears. In support of the rapists an organised Hindu Ekta Manch [United Hindu Front] was formed. Indian Express’s Muzammil Jalil has reported that this Front was being supported by Chief Minister Mehmbooba Mufti’s two cabinet ministers and BJP MLA’s  Lal Singh and Chandar Prakash Ganga.

Our colleague Zafar Iqbal talked to BJP’s spokesman Sunil Sethi. Later he spoke to PDP’s spokesman also. Listen to this first:

Sunil Sethi BJP Jammu Spokesman:

‘The manner in which investigation was conducted and those who were included in the investigation gave the impression that it was not a free and fair investigation. The demand was the case to be handed to CBI. CBI is a premier agency of the country.’

PDP’s Spokesman:

‘Our police is a highly professional organisation. They are fighting on several fronts. They are fighting against militancy. They are fighting in Kashmir. Our police is regarded as a very competent organisation.  And this is the case of the rape of a little girl. This is not an a case either of involving an individual. This is an issue affecting the whole community.’

I will tell you about the police and its team [a bit later].

Politics makes its own ways. But when it loses its ground and gets weak, and is unable to look you into the face, it feels no compunction in using an eight-year child as its pawn. At this point it is left with no trick other than the Hindu-Muslim controversy. It might have one or two flyovers [that it has constructed to show its achievements] but except this it has nothing [in the name of performance and development]. Now you have become [divided into] a Muslim or a Hindu which will come between you what is known as politics.

Whether or not any citizen is standing with the eight-year-old child, you will tell me. When the police was going to file the charge sheet, on what basis was it justified to stop it from doing so? Was the police stopped by a crowd when they were going to file the charge sheet?

Many newsmen have reported that on Monday, April the 9th, lawyers protested outside the district court. Slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ as well as of ‘Jai Sri Rama’ were shouted there. Jammu and Kashmir Police has filed a case against the lawyers who organised the protest. Are the lawyers oblivion of law and legal procedure?

If  BJP politicians do not have confidence in their police in the very state  where they are in the government then what are its ministers doing in the government of Mehbooba Mufti?

Everyone doubts police’s investigation. [Yes, sadly, this is what the situation is.] The Indian police’s standard is that of a third rate. But, then, will it be decided by the crowd as to what the police should do? And will it be decided through a debate on Hindu Versus Muslims base? Will, now, the slogans of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’, and ‘Jai Sri Ram’ be chanted and the Tricolour flags be flown in support of the rapists and murderers of an eight-year-old girl?

If you read this 11-page long report your eyes will bulge out in horror and shock. One of the accused in this murder case is Sanjhi Ram who has retired from the service. He included his son as well as his nephew in this murder. Both of them are below 18 and are juveniles. Eight people have been arrested including special police officer Dipak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar. Assistant Sub-Inspector Anand Datta and Head Constable and Tilak Raj have been arrested for destroying evidence.

Sanji Ram wanted to remove Bakarwal community from Rasna village. For this he hatched a plan to kidnap and kill an eight-year-old girl. On Sanjhi Ram’s instructions his son and a friend went to a medical store, 7 January—bear in mind that this has not yet been proved in a court of law. The police has to prove this—and produce an ailing uncle’s prescription. They buy 10 pills of Epitril 0.5 mg.

The same day Sanji Ram asked his nephew to kidnap the eight-year-old girl. The girl often used to take horses to the forest for grazing. Her name is said to be Asifa. The girl tried to run but she was caught and raped. She was then brought to the house of god i.e. a temple.

I am having difficulty in describing the details but I am having to force myself to do so. What you are unable to realise is that the Hindu-Muslim politics is ready to turn your children into murderers. Your son will return home as a murderer.  For the last several months I have been repeating this in Prime Time shows and many viewers say that they are bored of hearing this. But, please check and see how stories are being repeated and replayed again and again.

The girl’s parents asked Sanji Ram [if he had seen the girl] and he said she must have gone to her relatives. Although he himself had locked her in the temple. All this is written in the charge sheet. She was given the drug and then Khajuria and the boy, aged less than 18, rape her. On 11th January another boy, also below 18, was called on phone by his friend. He comes from Meerut and rapes the girl. I can’t read it but have to [somehow]. The girl is forced to swallow three sleeping tablets and raped.

No one needs to lose temper. The anger should be at those who are supporting the rapists. But think coolly and calmly where-from does one get the temptation to rape?

Jammu Kashmir Bar Association announced Jammu Band on Wednesday, 12 April. The lawyers’ group is demanding an investigation by CBI. They are not satisfied with police’s findings. They came out on streets with tricolour.

Reporters covering this story are in shock. The details provided in the charge sheet and the politics being played on it by opposing groups has left them aghast and bewildered. Journalist Rahul Pundita writes about the [investigation team and the SSP who led the investigation] : ‘The 15-member team of the Crime Branch, claims that the  senior police officials, have an impeccable record. Jala himself has survived several terrorist attacks during his stint in Kashmir Valley.’

If attempts are being made to justify the rape of an eight-year old child on the basis of Hindu-Muslim [politics] and the cover-up that is being used is that the people want this and that and if this is an attempt to stand with the accused, then I wonder what to say to myself or to you?

The innocent child has left this hell but you still have to live here. One should feel disgusted and terrified with the trend of not standing with the victim because of religious prejudices and the politics of using tricolour to oppose the charge sheet.

If you know about the life in the mountainous valley or even if you do not know and want to know, the Bakarwal community is vital for these  mountains. They are very simple people whose livelihood is grazing and breeding livestock and do not settle permanently at one place. Gujjar Baakarwals are basically Muslim nomads. They are listed as a scheduled tribe. They build huts in forests or in nearby areas and live in small groups. In March and April when the summer starts, Bakarwalas migrate to the highlands along with their herds of sheep, buffaloes and cows. During this period there is plenty of grass for their herds. In October they return to the plain where they spend next four to five months of the year.

From environmental point of view, Gujjar Bakarwal community is regarded vital. They have such deep knowledge about wild plants and herbs that they are even called as ‘Bare Foot Botanists’. But today they are fighting for their traditional rights on forests. And what status do they have in the society, the brutal Kathua incident must have helped in understanding this.

If possible, think about your community. Think about yourself. There are crowds everywhere and in every direction there is violence. Only yesterday a photograph from Bengal in which Trinamool supporters are rallying brandishing weapons.

Someone from somewhere appears with swords, gandas [battle-axes] and organises a rally. These days Shobha Yatra of Ram Navmi is meant to display arms. Therefore, please think which direction we are heading to. If you think about it as a common man/woman, you will get an answer. Violence cannot serve any purpose. Some are playing politics in the name of Rama and some have even come to regard themselves above Rama.

There is no system in your country that can rein in these crowds. Everywhere there is helplessness and the [anarchic] crowd has gone berserk.

You are seeing the [sword brandishing crowds playing in the background] crowds. There is no system in your country that can rein in these crowds. Everywhere there is helplessness and the [anarchic] crowd has gone berserk.

If it is the Hindu Ekta Manch that has come out in support of the accused of Kathua, in UP, Yogi Government and whole BJP appear to be defending legislator Kuldip Singh Sanger. The slogan ‘Beti Padhao Beti Bachao’ [Educate the daughter and protect her] has now been replaced with ‘Beti ko maro, vidhayak ko bachao’ [Kill the daughter and protect the legislator].

The girl from Unnao is accusing Kuldip Singh Sanger of the murder of her father. You have seen on TV his [Kuldip Singh’s] statements with broad smile on his face. The girl’s father was beaten to death. Only after a protest, the legislator’s brother’s name, also an accused, was included in the FIR and he was arrested. Now the Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court have taken notice of it. Following protests, Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath has sent an SIT to the village of the girl. But before the SIT even reached there, hundreds of the supporters of the legislator had already arrived in the village. They started protesting and calling the legislature ‘innocent’. But there are elements even within the BJP whose conscience is becoming alive. In UP a member of BJP’s media cell Deepti Bhardwaj has tweeted: ‘Respectable Bhai @AmitShah ji, save Uttar Pradesh. Government decisions are embarrassing us. These blots cannot be washed. Yours, Respectable Bhai @narandramodiji’s and the dreams of all of us will be shattered.’

BJP sympathises with its legislator. [Supposedly] It doesn’t want to make arrests on the basis of allegations and media trial. But are these the standards BJP is adopting [in rest of the country]? In Jammu where investigations have been conducted and charge sheet has been prepared, its ministers are defending the accused. Its spokespersons and all of them are part of the [protesting] crowd.

[In Unnao] Girl’s father was beaten [to death] in police custody. Keep watching which side the tarazu [balance] of Justice tilts: towards religion, caste [or fairness and justice]?

We too believe that no action should be taken under the pressure of the crowd. But a father dies in custody of the police and the name of the [accused] brother was not included in the FIR. Under whose pressure was the [girl’s] father detained and killed? Watch Kamal Khan’s report from Unnao but before that listen to the statement of a legislator Surendar Singh’s from Ballia and then decide what kind of your ‘New India’ is.

Legislator’s statement: ‘It seems the whole society will be in pain in the name of sufferings of women and the Dalits… Who rapes a mother of three children?… You may be a married man. I am a married man too. How is it possible for someone to rape a mother of three or four? And how can someone rape a girl with whose father fight is going on? From psychological point of view I can say this is untrue.’

Ravish Kumar is one of the most respected and courageous TV journalists of India.

Translated and slightly edited by Urdu Media Monitor from Ravish Kumar’s popular TV show Prime Time



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