by Syyed Mansoor Agha
An 8-years old Bakarwal girl, Aasifa’s planned abduction, captivation for 8 days (10 January to 17 January 2018) in a religious place, administering sedatives regularly on empty stomach, repeated gang-rape in a religious premises, brutal killing and cover-up by police with an element of conspiracy and communal hatred has shaken the conscious of the nation barring hardened of pseudo-nationalist and Hindutva lovers including the BJP Ministers in Jammu, leaders in Delhi.
Rape of minor girls and then killing is not new in India. NCRB data (2016) shows 106 rapes a day. Raped among them were 2,116 girls in the age-group of 0 to 12 years. Then what is special in Asifa case of Kathua, J&K another case of a minor girl allegedly raped by BJP MLA Kuldeep Senger and his brother Atul in village Makhi, District Unnao, UP that made headlines! Consider three common factors, brutality, attempts of cover-by by local police and BJP support to culprits. 8 years old Asifa was shockingly brutalized while Unnao victim’s father was beaten to death in custody.
Public outrage on these cases was so loud, that even PM Modi, who generally keeps mum on the brutalities implicating saffron cedars, did speak. I quote “Incidents being discussed since the past two days cannot be part of a civilized society. As a country, and as a society, we all are ashamed of it. I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice.” “Such incidents in any part of the country shake the human conscience and sensibilities. I want to assure the country that no criminal will be spared and justice will be done. All of us will have to come together to fight this mindset.”
No doubt, such incidents cannot be part of civilized society, but, one wonders, why the twitter handle of the top leader remained silent for over two days? Why he chose to ignore the cry of the victims and did not prevailed upon the “pseudo nationalists” gangs who insulted National flag and the sacred name of Shri Ram to shield the culprits of heinous crime and left no stone unturned to derail process of justice? His party is still siding with the Ministers who showed up in the rally in support of accused. Lawyers close to BJP are also doing the same. Honorable Modi Jee, people have preserved clips of your fresh sermon along with other ‘Jumlas’ you spoke during last 5 years. We are pleased that good sense find its way in to your mind and spoke albeit not for the sake of justice, or under humanism but ostensibly for the fear of the voter’s anger. 2019 is closing upon you and people are watching the steps, and distance between the words and works.
It is now an open secret that the party under your wings made all out efforts to save alleged rapists and killers. BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping his neighbor minor girl of 17, was arrested only after the Allahabad High Court ordered immediate action. The bench comprising CJ D B Bhosale and J Suneet Kumar, said: “The SIT report reveals as to how police personnel and doctors were/ are under the influence of Kuldeep Singh and how they tampered with evidence and tried to create terror and intimidated the prosecutrix and her family members. The disturbing feature of the case is that the law and order machinery and the government officials were directly in league and under the influence of Kuldeep Singh.” The bench said, ““What is disturbing… is that the father of the prosecutrix, for no reason, came to be arrested and was in custody, where, we are informed, he was mercilessly beaten and succumbed to injuries,” said the court.
When court questioned over the delay in Sengar’s arrest, the Advocate General Raghvendra Singh’s response was that Sengar would not be arrested on mere registration of the FIR. The court expressed its anguish and said, “The approach of the learned AG is not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the Court in the backdrop of the instant case… (It) not only exudes an unpleasant flavor, but raises doubts about the bona fides of the police authorities at the highest level,” it said. Reportedly alleged rapist promised the victim for a job and sexually exploited her.
The saffron clad CM was least disturbed of rape accusation upon his MLA. He has special affection with the word rape. He reportedly used the word to enthuse his cedars. He called them to dugout dead bodies from the graves and rape. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the father of Hindutva ideology had also been soft on rape as a political tool.
Mastermind behind Asifa kidnapping and killing is allegedly a caretaker of a Devisthan (temple of Devi) in village Rasana. He was after Bakherwals for long and wanted to dislodge them from the village jungles where the stay during winter to graze there animals. Bakarwal is a nomad community which rare animals. In summer they move to higher ridges and in winter comedown. It was in January of 2018, when Sanji Ram hatched the conspiracy with his drug edict juvenile nephew (son of his sister) to abduct and kill Asifa to scare Bakarwals. He took local police man in confidence, taped support of nephew’s juvenile friend Mannu. The idea was that Juveniles, if arrested will come out of jail, within few months. Under his guidance they watched Asifa’s movements for a few days. She used to graze her horses behind Devisthan.
On January 10 they caught Asifa, gaged her and tied her hands and legs and hide in a store in Devisthan premises. On Sanji Ram’s behest, the juvenile accused had procured ten tablets of tablets sedative drug on 7 January. They forced tablets down her throat on an empty stomach. The girl was repeatedly drugged and gang raped. On January 11, the juvenile invited his cousin Vishal Jangotra over the telephone and asked him to return from Meerut if he wanted to ‘satisfy his lust’ with the girl in their captivity. Next day Jangotra travelled to Kathua and joined the group. Girl was gang raped at leased thrice inside the Devisthan or prayer hall, after the mastermind had “performed rituals”.
When the parents of the girl knocked at the Devisthan, on 11 January, Sanji Ram dismissed them. Concerned, Asia’s father Mohd Yousuf lodged a complaint at the Hiranagar police station on January 12, accusing Sanji Ram’s nephew.
The search party that was sent by the Hiranagar Police Station included a SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was part of the conspiracy and also raped the girl more than once. Khajuria also became conduit between Sanji Ram and Hiranagar police officials. Crime Branch investigation, under the instruction of HC, revealed that Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, were bribed with a sum of Rs. 4 lakh in parts to ‘handle the situation’ and they faithfully did.
After January 13 the caretaker of Devisthan decided that it was time to kill the girl and dump the body in a nearby canal. A motor car was hired. While Mannu, Vishal and the juvenile finally prepared to kill the child, Khajuria stopped them so that he could rape her ‘for a last time’. Then Khajuria allegedly attempted to strangle the girl with his bare hands, but when that did not work, he used her dupatta instead. To make sure she is dead, he hit her head twice with a stone. Plan to dump the body in the canal did not materialized as the car driver backed out at the last moment. So the body was kept hidden in the Devisthan.
Two days later, on January 15 the victim’s body was thrown into the jungle, and noticed on 17th by a passerby, who informed the police. Though the police made all out efforts to destroy the evidence and hush up the case, yet postmortem report showed that under the impact of repeated gang rape her private parts were badly mutilated. Her uterus was also damaged.
After huge protests by Bakarwals, the case was handed over to State Crime Branch on the instruction of High Court. Mr. Ramesh Kumar Jalla, the SSP (Crime Branch), investigated the case along with his team, and completed the investigation in “record time,” arrested all the accused. He was under tremendous pressure to let the criminals go scot free but he didn’t budge. Mr. jalla, a Kashmiri Pandit, kept the flag of Kashmeeriat high and through his unbiased investigation, he exposed the Hindutva bigots who admittedly raped and murdered Asifa to “teach a lesson” to her community.
To derail his investigation “Hindu Ekta Manch” was fromed. Communal turn was given to the case. BJP Ministers and other leaders participated in protests. Finally on 9th April, when Police reached the Chief Judicial Magistrate Amarjit Singh Langeh’s court in Kathua, with all accused in custody to submit charge sheet, an unruly group of lawyers, led by president of Kathua Bar Association Kirti Bhushan Mahajan, ambushed the chamber of the CJM and did not let him work. Police had to leave the court. The CJM was finally able to accept the charge sheet at his house. The lawyers assembled there as well, and shouted slogans. Police did not let them enter in and the CJM was able to accept the charge sheet and issue order sending the accused to judicial custody. This was done barely two days before the last date fixed for the charge sheet.
The accused in the case, include retired revenue official Sanji Ram, the caretaker of Devisthan, his son Vishal and a minor nephew (son of his sister), Parvesh Kumar, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, and Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj. Dutta and Raj were arrested on charges of attempting to destroy evidence by washing the blood-stained clothes of the victim.
Full of chilling details the charge sheet concluded, “Whatever surfaced in the course of investigation leads to the irresistible conclusion that the accused … have undoubtedly committed offences Punishable under section 363/343/376-D/302/201 r/w 120-B RPC. “
It revealed, “During investigation conducted by Crime Branch it has been established on the basis of oral, scientific as well as documentary evidence that the victim was neither kept in captivity at Cow shed nor had she been killed on the spot from where her dead body was recovered thus rendering the entire story created by accused SI Dutta as farce and far from truth. The investigation has established, on the strength of evidence both oral as well as scientific, that the accused SI Dutta and Tilak Raj have in furtherance of Criminal Conspiracy hatched between themselves and the principal accused Sanji Ram washed the clothes worn by the deceased at the time of her death with the intention to remove the clay and blood stains/sperms etc and thereafter forwarded the same to FSL for expert opinion. This apart the accused SI Dutta deliberately did not conduct the search of Devisthan for tracing out the missing girl. The said accused has not even searched the premises and other suspected installation/houses in the vicinity where from the innocent girl had gone missing.
Moreover during the course of investigation of such a sensational case the said accused as an I.O has remained very casual and has left serious criminal lapses deliberately in order to give undue benefit or to expunge the accused involved in the case. The accused while investigating the case has deliberately not seized Dupatta, hairband and neckless of the deceased girl as well as clothes of the juvenile after his confession. The Chunni used for strangulating the victim has been seized later on by SIT CBJ from P/S Hiranagar along with Hair band.
These vital pieces of evidence were deliberately left out by the said accused to confer undue benefit to the accused. Similarly the accused SI Anand Dutta has not even collected the blood sample of victim from the board of doctors who conducted autopsy of victim. Keeping in view of the facts, circumstances, call details confessional statements, statements of official of P/S Hiranagar, FSL report and other evidences, the involvement of accused SI Dutta and HC Tilak Raj was found iin commission of offence punishable u/s 201/RPC, r/w 343,376-D,302,120-B/RPC.” (Detailed charge sheet: (https://www.firstpost.com/ind
The crime and the cover up efforts by Hindutva minds had outraged the nation. Thousands participated in candle March. In Jammu and Kathua Sikhs and Gujjars organized candle marches. Hindu Ekta Manch organized rallies in support of the pitiless criminals. BJP Ministers, under the instruction of State BJP participated in the rallies. Jammu HC Bar Association called for a Bundh the day charge sheet was submitted. But it did not help them to get more inroads in Hindu vote bank. On social media there is a barge against the crime and the cover up. Newspapers are full critical articles and bhakts had to retract.
It looks like return of flock of birds.
“Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks, Striking them with stones of hard clay, And He made them like eaten straw.( Surah Feel: 105)