Can Prime Minister Modi's assurances that our daughters will get justice, coming after nationwide protests against the diabolic rapes and murders in Kathua and Unnao, be taken seriously?
The Hindutva warriors have already launched a frenetic and synchronised campaign on social media to discredit the chargesheet filed by the J&K crime branch in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old child at Kathua. Simultaneously, fake news regarding real and imaginary past cases of rape are being circulated to deflect public attention.
Obstructing the course of justice is the most vital component of a political project which seeks to subvert constitutional democracy and the rule of law. That is precisely what this gut-wrenching campaign to shield the rapists and killers seeks to achieve, by demanding a CBI inquiry into the Kathua atrocity.
What is the justification for this demand for a CBI inquiry after the filing of the chargesheet against the eight accused by the J&K crime branch, if not for an attempted cover-up? The J&K crime branch investigation was led by a senior superintendent of police, who has been a recipient of gallantry awards for fighting militancy. Yet, his credentials are being besmirched and the investigation being questioned by the RSS-controlled sections of the media in order to sabotage the trial.
The Hindu Ekta Manch and the Jammu Bar Association have been working in tandem to obstruct the course of justice, first by trying to prevent the filing of the chargesheet and now trying to discredit it through a media campaign and threatening the lawyer and the family members of the victim. A video message by a Hindutva activist from Jammu, doing the rounds in social media, claims that there was no rape in Kathua and the murder of the eight-year-old is the handiwork of Rohingya Muslims. Prime Minister Modi's assurances fly in the face of this concerted, wicked propaganda by his camp followers.
Yesterday's (April 16) acquittal of Aseemanand and others accused in the May 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts case will further energise the Hindutva brigade in pressing for a CBI inquiry into the Kathua atrocity. This is yet another pointer that under the present regime, hate crimes committed by Hindutva zealots will always go unpunished.
Even after an 11-year-long investigation into the Mecca Masjid blasts, first by the CBI and then the NIA, sufficient evidence could not be gathered, it seems. Two of the accused were murdered during the course of the trial. The judge who delivered the verdict has resigned soon after, ostensibly for "personal" reasons. All this reeks of a subversion of justice.
The investigations into the Samjhauta Express attack, Ajmer Dargah attack and Malegaon blasts have all yielded similar results so far. A Kasab or a Yakub Memon will be hanged for terrorism in the name of jihad, but those who terrorise and kill in the name of Hindutva will go scot-free; we will never know who is actually responsible for these crimes.
The overtly organised nature of the campaign to shield and protect the perpetrators of hate crimes has also been visible in most of the cases that have made headlines in recent times. When one of the accused in the 2015 Dadri lynching died in a Delhi hospital, his coffin was carried back to the village for funeral, draped in the national flag with a Union minister in attendance.
No wonder that most of the accused in lynching Mohammad Akhlaq to death are out on bail by now. Many others accused of murder of Alwar's Pehlu Khan or Faridabad's Junaid during the cow/beef-related lynching spree last year, are also out on bail. The grisly hacking to death of Afrazul in Rajsamand last December was followed by militant protests in support of the killer Shambhulal Regar and funds being raised publicly to organise his legal defence. Recently, a tableau glorifying the Rajsamand killer was taken out by Hindutva outfits during the Ram Navami processions in Jodhpur.
The pattern is unmistakable here. Even as one arm of the Hindutva gang launches virulent public campaigns in favour of the perpetrators of each and every hate crime, the RSS-BJP works meticulously through the state machinery to sabotage the investigations and trials to ensure obstruction of justice.
The message is clear. Whoever you are, if you happen to kill Muslims, there is a whole machinery out there waiting to protect and defend you. The discharge of fake encounter accused DG Vanzara and the mysterious death of judge Loya, which his family members have alleged was a murder, stand testimony to the extent the Hindutva forces will go to undermine the criminal justice system.
Given this record, PM Modi's words cannot be taken at face value. He is a mere charlatan, who pretends to uphold the rule of law while his foot soldiers shred it to pieces. The protests against the Kathua and Unnao atrocities must continue vigorously in order to ensure that the Hindutva forces do not succeed in scuttling the course of justice.
If the system fails to ensure justice time and again, the faith in the democratic system will erode irrevocably, and it will be the prime minister who will be responsible.