The heinous rape and murder of the eight-year-old Asifa, of the nomadic Muslim Bakerwal community, in Kathua, Jammu, has completely shocked the nation. And the fact that the lawyers and politicians of the state have taken to the streets to protest against the charge sheet filed against the perpetrators is an even more shocking news. The reason being that the girl in question was a Muslim and her perpetrators, Hindu.
According to the reports, the girl had taken some cows out to graze and was searching for a missing cow when she was abducted. She was heavily drugged, kept at a H\idu temple and was repeatedly raped by at least three men, over four days in mid-January. Her body was found later in the forest, strangled, near the temple.
Initially, the case did not receive much media attention. But once the facts regarding the horrific crime started coming to the fore, people poured their hearts out condemning the criminals. Their outrage erupted out on the streets in forms of candlelight vigils and silent protests, which reminded the nation of another gruesome incident, the Nirbhaya rape case. On Thursday midnight, hundreds of people, including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders, led a candlelight vigil at the India Gate in the national capital.
The victim’s family now believe that the only way they can get justice is if the case is moved out of Jammu. But this won't be easy. The family will need legal support and resources to pursue this case from another city. Jammu based lawyer Deepika Rajawat and her team have been fighting against odds to pursue the case. They have been working on a pro-bono basis for Asifa’s family but they feel that once the attention from the case is gone, things may get difficult for the family.
So to help things going in the future, Crownewsing has started a crowd-funded campaign, to raise Rs 20 lakhs as a legal fund.
“Everytime our government’s fail our people, it becomes the duty of the citizens to come together and support those in need. Ordinary citizens have once again proved that they are in-charge of this society, says Bilal Zaidi, founder and community coordinator at CrowdNewsing. The campaign has already raised Rs 16 lakhs.
After talking to the team of lawyers, the family has said that Rs 10 lakh would be enough for the rehabilitation of the family and also for pursuing the case legally. Hence, the rest of the amount will be transferred to the family of the Unnao rape survivor.
On June 4, 2017, BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar had allegedly called the 16-year-old minor to his home in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao. He then took her to his room and raped her, while an accomplice sat outside. After raping her, he wiped her tears and said he’d get her a job.
Earlier this month, the victim’s father, Surendra Singh was arrested for protesting against the police inaction in his daughter’s case. He was brutally thrashed by the MLA’s brother Atul Singh and died while in custody.
It was only after a massive public outcry that the ruling dispensation was forced to take action and Sengar was taken into the CBI custody in the wee hours of Friday, April 13.