[Reader-list] Selective condemnation of rape and murder has become bane of J&K politics

S. Jabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Wed Mar 31 17:22:11 IST 2010


....and where are those Mehboobas, Shameemas, Asiyas today?

Selective condemnation of rape and murder has become bane of J&K politics

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Mar 30: Hullabaloo over then widely perceived rape-cum-murder of two
young woman, married Neelofar Jan and unmarried Asiya Jan, of Shopian in May
last year was understandable as well as justifiable. Jostling for the
limelight, female politicians of all hues had done whatever possible to
undercut one another in the race of smudging the men in uniform. There were
initially efforts to involve the Balpora-based formation of Rashtriya
Rifles. Soon the campaign was downgraded to a unit of Central Reserve Police
Force (CRPF). But once both proved to be the hard nuts, convenience zeroed
in on Police. Even as two of the Police personnel, detained for their
alleged involvement in destroying the evidences, were just a vegetarian
target, counter-insurgency profile of then SP and Dy SP of Shopian made it a
perfect case for a mass movement.

For weeks together, Kashmir was yet again in flames. Eight people got
killed, and around 1,000 sustained injuries in clashes with Police and armed
forces. Over a thousand vehicles, including 50 ambulances of different
hospitals in the Valley, were damaged in stone pelting. There was shutdown
after shutdown for four months. Damage caused to the Kashmir economy is
estimated to be in hundreds of Crores of Rupees. Loss suffered by the
student community remained incalculable. Why all that? Obviously because
government officials, supposed to protect the honour and life of women, were
perceived to be involved in the sinister act of outraging the modesty of the
victims and doing away with them.

Within months, yet another government official---this time a doctor on whose
evidence stood the ³rape-cum-murder² of the Shopian duo---has been found to
have outraged the chastity of a hapless woman at his clinic at the nearby
district headquarters of Pulwama. There are few differences between the two.
First one was fully based on surmise, speculation and perception. Post
mortem reports of two teams of doctors made it an explosive case of gang
rape and murder. Actors need not to be searched in such kind of incidents in
the strife torn Valley. Second one has been purportedly shot on camera and
the actor stands not only identified but also placed under suspension,
arrested and jailed.

In case of Shopian, the victims were found to have died once. In case of
Pulwama, the victim has been left to die a hundred times every day as long
as she lives. The latest revelation is that she happens to be the mother of
a girl doing first year of her MBBS and a 17-year-old son who is in class
11th. Shopian happened by night in a nullah and Pulwama in broad daylight
during the holy month of Ramazan, at a property owned by a religious trust.
Then, why an uproar on Shopian and a silence of convenience on Pulwama? The
biggest poser of the cruel times in Kashmir: Is it the outfits of an actor
that categorizes rapes in the Valley? Had the Pulwama actor been in Khaki,
would the Kashmiri politicians have maintained this silence. The questions
ahead: Are the Kashmiri female politicians concerned over the outrage of the
modesty of hapless women by government officials or are they exploiting such
incidents selectively to create space for themselves in the politics of
deceit and camouflage that has had a bullish market from New Delhi to

PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti, and the pro-Pakistan Dukhataraan-e-Millat
supremo, Asiya Andrabi, stole the show in Shopian as they left no stone
unturned in berating the men in uniform. That was understandable for one was
the queen of the mainstream opposition and another indisputably the highest
profile female political activist in the separatist camp. But the ruling
National Conference¹s MLA, Shameema Firdaus, appeared to outsmart all and
sundry in the agitation when she led a procession of workers on Residency
Road in Srinagar, chanting slogans against the Shopian rapists and killers
and demanding exemplary punishment for them all.

Of late, Shameema Firdaus, has been appointed by Omar Abdullah government as
the Chairperson of the State Women¹s Commission. While Asiya and her ilk in
the separatist camp must have now realized the dangers of walking into the
trap of pro-India politicians, PDP chief has never been sighted in Assembly
since the day Pulwama surfaced on March 21. Ms Firdaus remained in
attendance but did not utter a word of condemnation even when the
independent MLA from Langet, Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid, raised his lonely
voice on the floor of the House and demanded termination of the doctor¹s

Until yesterday, the big question was: How could the two women have drowned
to death in ³ankle deep waters² of Rambiara ? After CBI exonerated all the
four Policemen and filed a chargesheet against 13 persons, including six
doctors---notably then deputy Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Ghulam Qadir
Sofi, now booked for raping a woman at his clinic---a bigger question
surfaced: How do the gang rapes in Valley take place while leaving hymen of
an unmarried woman intact? Now a far bigger question: Is it all politics on
rape or rape of politics---to spare the rapists in civvies and target only
the rapists in uniform?

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