After Kathua, Mandsaur: While our children are at risk, we are focusing on the religion of the attackers

Linking crime to religion takes attention off the real issue – little girls are being raped every day.

 |  3-minute read |   05-07-2018
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As a country, we reached that point long ago when news of rapes became an everyday occurrence. But what’s happening now is horrifying, and a much bigger threat than it appears.

Daily news of innocent children being raped can send chills down the spine of anyone with a beating heart. But another very disturbing aspect is how these crimes are being viewed through the prism of religion. 

A child waiting for her parents after school is a very normal situation. But what happened in Mandsaur on June 26 has nothing normal or acceptable about it. Photo: PTIA child waiting for her parents after school is a very normal situation. But what happened in Mandsaur on June 26 has nothing normal or acceptable about it. Photo: PTI

A seven-year-old waiting for her family members to pick her up after school is a normal situation in the life of any parent. But what followed on the evening of June 26 in Mandsaur has nothing normal or acceptable about it.

The child was abducted by a 20-year-old man, who took her to a secluded area and raped her along with an accomplice. The men then tried to kill her by slitting her throat.

It is being said that criminals have stopped fearing the law. On the contrary, what is prominently visible here is the fact that the criminals do fear the law. But they manage to skip through the loopholes in the legal system. It is this confidence they have that costs us the lives of our children.

The heinous nature of the crime led people to draw comparisons with yet another case that shamed humanity in 2012– the Nirbhaya case, where a 23-year-old physiotherapy student died after being abducted and gang-raped in a moving bus in the country’s capital. 

In the Mandsaur case, thousands of people, including women and children, hit the streets to demand justice for the minor. The girl’s father too demanded capital punishment for the accused.

But the real question remains unanswered – how many more such incidents will it take before we realise that childhood in India is under attack, and paying attention to things like the religion of the victim and the accused takes focus away from this? 

As every minute detail of this gruesome incident is being reported, as rage pours in from different parts of the country, the religion of the child and the alleged perpetrators has divided the nation into two. These two parts are not just the ones supporting the two religions, but those who question the seriousness of the issue.

In Kathua, the religion of the accused led to people to take out a rally in their support. Photo: TwitterIn Kathua, the religion of the accused led to people taking out a rally in their support. Photo: Twitter

Every minute detail of the Kathua rape case is disturbing. Having said that, the culprits tried using religion as a tool to escape trial, and the very same tool became a curse for the family of the victim. Every responsible citizen of the country was infuriated during Kathua as justice was felt to be denied.

After the repugnant incident in Mandsaur, many claimed the law was “partial” as the accused were Muslims. They also said that the Kathua rape case received media attention and support from the masses only because the victim was Muslim.

When did we regress to an extent that we easily reduce everything to religion? How did we reach a point where we can’t see the multiple gruesome aspects of crime, violence, injustice, etc. beyond religion?

When injustice occurs, it affects everyone despite their religion. When there’s a loss of one life, many lives are affected, and a few come to a halt – just like the lives of the Kathua victim’s parents.

When capital punishment is demanded in such cases, it is expected to prevent such crimes in the future across all religions and social classes.

We don’t simply need to unite. We also need to unlearn a few things in order to learn better ones. The children of this country are under threat and there’s little that’s being done to save their childhood.

Also read: How a revolt in Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP strengthens Sajjad Lone’s ambitions

Writer

Mayuresh Ganapatye Mayuresh Ganapatye @mayuganapatye

Special Correspondent, India Today TV

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