Publicado: Lun, Abril 16, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Escalating anger in India over rape of two girls

Escalating anger in India over rape of two girls

India's women's minister has called for the death penalty for child rapists as nationwide outrage mounts over the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, even as a lawmaker from India's ruling party was arrested in connection with the rape of a teenager.

"We are totally questioning what progress we've made", said Poonam Muttreja, an activist who has founded several organisations for women's rights and health.

Sexual violence remains a taboo in India, and survivors fear stigma or retribution if they report attacks.

Prime Minister Modi's pet project, the protesters showed placard reading "High Time for government to decide - Beti Bacha, Ya balatkari bachao".

Indian women shout slogans during a protest against recent incidents of rape, in Ahmadabad, India, on April 13, 2018.

Asifa's case has shaken the state's Legislative Assembly. According to the charge sheet, one of the attackers raped her just before she died. But, the government is silent.

Ministers have insisted that justice will be done no matter who committed the crime, while defending the government's record on fighting violence against women.

The family tried unsuccessfully for months to persuade police to register a case against the powerful local official until last Tuesday, when the family alleges Sengar and a group barged into their home, molested the girl again, tied her father to a tree and beat him. A police constable and a sub-inspector were also arrested after the crime branch found they allegedly tried to destroy evidence after the crime.

According to The Times of India, Sanji Ram a 60-year-old retired revenue official is the main conspirator who incited his alleged minor 15-year-old nephew, a school drop-out, to abduct the eight-year-old girl as revenge for the Bakarwals having beaten up the boy in the past. The girl was heavily sedated, kept in a Hindu temple, and gang raped by at least three men over the course of four days in mid-January. A week later, her blood-stained body was found in a forest.

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"There is no democracy when crimes like these are politically supported and the law is undermined", said a student at the protest wished to remain anonymous because she "didn't want to risk being removed from her university".

On Friday two Bharatiya Janata Party ministers, Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who attended a rally in support of the Kathua accused in March, resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. "What if a girl has died?"

Almost 40 lawyers have been charged with the criminal offense for trying to obstruct the police from filing the necessary paperwork for the court proceedings.

Police had failed to investigate allegations against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a member of the state legislature, but India's Central Bureau of Investigation took over the case on Thursday.

"He will be presented before the court and charges will be pressed on Saturday", the officer added, without saying what charges he would face.

The police however filed the chargesheet despite the resistance by the lawyers.

The young girl, whose identity was protected by a court order Friday but was named in various media outlets as Ashifa Bano, was murdered in January in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The protest by Hindu Ekta Manch and Kathua Bar Association had on Thursday invited widespread anger from all across including on Twitter and #JusticeforAsifa was among the top trends of the day on the microblogging website. Perhaps every parent is similarly affected?

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