#JusticeForAsifa: India has normalized rape in JK, say Kashmiri students of Jamia Millia Islamia

Women students from Jammu and Kashmir studying at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi on Saturday organized a protest against the ‘communally and politically motivated’ rape and murder of the eight year old Kathua girl.

Besides, the protesters also challenged the sudden interest of Indian media and civil society as ‘motivated’. Holding placards that read Aasifa Not India’s Daughter, Aasifa Not Nirbhaya, We Reject Your Obsession with Our Mutilated Bodies, Azadi, Right to Self Determination, the protesters said, “The purpose of the protest is to make it clear that we do not accept Indian media’s, celebrities’ and civil society’s sudden outrage against the rape while condoning and approving it as a weapon of war in the context of the occupation and militarization of Jammu and Kashmir.”

In a visibly emotional outburst, one female student said, “Even if we are emotional about it, our emotions are just as political as our militant slogans of Azadi. The Indian State plays out its war on our bodies in the name of the security of Indians, and they have no right to own this eight year old in any way possible.”

“This is also a time for us to be self-critical and question our own narratives of marginalizing certain groups in our imagination of a free Kashmir”, said a student speaker adding that, “however, these are internal conversations that our society must have, and not what India’s media and civil society can impose on us while defending their nation”.

The students who participated in the protest were unanimous in their rejection of the Indian media and civil society’s attempt to erase the specificity of the rape and murder of the eight year old. The students questioned the Left-liberal solidarity for its attempts to see the incident as an outcome of a certain political force (Right Wing Hindu) in power in India and stressed that all shades of political opinion in India have normalized the practice of rape and murder in Jammu and Kashmir for decades now.

After prolonged silence, Narendra Modi on Friday condemned the rape and gave an assurance that justice would be done.

On Friday, the two BJP ministers, Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who had rallied in support of the accused in Kathua rape resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet.

Earlier, the BJP had said that both the ministers were ‘misled and misguided by a few people.’

Is it a crime to get misled?” Meenakshi Lekhi, the BJP Spokesperson asked, adding that the people get misled and this can happen with anyone.

The main opposition party National Conference had said that they will consider a civil disobedience movement against the government if they fail to take action against the ‘erring ministers’.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah also told CM Mehbooba Mufti to sack the two ministers the way she sacked former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu.

Ganga, the Industries Minister, earlier had said that he was satisfied with the investigation of the Crime Branch and the culprits involved in the rape and murder case of the minor girl should be hanged.

Lawyers in Kathua recently tried to prevent the Crime Branch to file the chargesheet in the rape and murder case of the an eight year old girl. However the police, after calling reinforcements filed the chargesheet.

The Jammu and Kashmir police registered a case against the lawyers for obstructing Crime Branch from filing charge sheet in Kathua rape and murder case at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Kathua.

Mehbooba Mufti, after the protest and the strike call given the Jammu Bar Association said that law won’t be obstructed due to the actions or statements of a group of people.

Nine accused, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram – an ex-bureaucrat – and his son vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police, have been arrested in the case.

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