Vinod Mubayi


The drugging, torture, rape, and eventual killing of the little 8-year old girl child Asifa in the Kathua region of Jammu is a crime of such extreme depravity as to literally stagger the imagination. The fact that the premeditated criminal act was planned, perpetrated and executed by a retired government functionary aided by his relatives and a few policemen and carried out inside the confines of a Devisthan (the local Hindu temple) compounds its heinous nature. And what was the tawdry motive behind this horrific act?


Apparently, a dispute over the use of local grazing land. Some Hindus wanted to drive the Bakarwal nomadic community, who happen to be Muslim, out of the area. They chose to wreak their cruelty on the defenseless body of a small girl going so far as to invite a male relative from Meerut several hundred miles away to satisfy his lust on her body while she lay drugged and imprisoned for a whole week inside the basement of the temple before she was strangled and killed and her body tossed into a forest.


This story, detailed in a police report by the crime branch of the J&K police, reveals graphically the extent of the criminality of the accused, all local Hindus of the Jammu area apart from the Meerut-based relative. However, when the police tried to file the FIR (first information report – in India’s criminal system the document that alleges the occurrence of a crime), a large mob which called itself the Hindu Ekta Manch (Hindu Unity Organization) and included many lawyers, assembled to try and block the police from carrying out their official function and openly denigrated the state police. Not only that, two BJP ministers in the J&K state government (a somewhat bizarre coalition of the BJP and the PDP representing a coalition of elected legislators from the mainly Hindu population of Jammu and the mainly Muslim population of Kashmir) defended the actions of the Hindu Ekta Manch.


This attempt to rubbish the painstaking police investigation illustrated the morphing of the criminality of Hindutva elements into a sick pathology when hundreds, if not thousands, of other Hindutvawadis attempted to obstruct the police from charging and arresting the criminals. It is important to understand that this situation is not a question of Hindus, qua Hindus, versus Muslims. Many of the police in J&K, including its chief in Jammu, who investigated the crime and charged the accused are themselves Hindus as is the lawyer for the girl’s family, who is now being vilified by Hindutva followers. The pathological sickness that is rapidly enveloping India is being spread by the Sangh Parivar, led by the RSS whose political arm is the BJP currently ruling the country. It is through the influence of this pathology that violence is being directed mainly at Muslims and Dalits whose origins and occupations make them easy targets for the depraved upper-caste ideology practiced by Hindutva’s followers. In BJP ruled states, such as UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the police are frequently accomplices of Hindutva politicians and gangsters.


A case in point is the rape in Unnao, UP, of a minor girl by a local BJP politician and strongman, Kuldeep Singh Sengar last year. The police refused to file an FIR in his case and when her family protested, her father was jailed and brutally assaulted inside the police lock up by the politician’s brother to such an extent that he died. It was only after the protests against the rapists in Kathua gained wide publicity and traction in the national media, that Sengar has been recently jailed by the UP police although it is well-known that political strongmen in India enjoy many luxuries in prison.


Meanwhile, despite the mounting news and protests by the saner sections of Indian society appalled by the horror of Kathua and the impunity in Unnao, Prime Minister Modi remained mum, no doubt unwilling to criticize his more fervent followers. It was only after the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a night protest march to India Gate in New Delhi that Modi finally was shamed into opening his mouth more than three months after Kathua crime and then only to utter some vague platitudes against rape without naming any of the perpetrators. His obvious discomfort at dwelling at any length on this topic is amplified by the many Hindutva trolls spreading fake news and falsehoods on social media. It is here that the sick pathology of Hindutva lies, which is leading India into a moral cesspool from which it will find it hard to emerge until and unless the RSS and BJP are culturally and politically defeated and their ideology is shunned by the majority.

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