Kashmir: Don’t politicize crime

Views from Srinagar

Dr. Javid Iqbal

A twitter post sums up Kathua story — Asifa is not Nirbhya because her name is Asifa. The post is an apt comment on how some communal formations have politicized crime and are fast polarizing communities. The case, a gory tale of rape and murder of a minor girl of Gujjar community should have evoked universal condemnation, irrespective of caste and creed. It did not happen, as Asifa indeed is not Nirbhya. The alleged perpetrators of the crime are getting support from leaders of the community they belong to, in a wanton demonstration of communalization of crime. It has gone to ugly lengths. Demonstrators to mark the arrest of alleged criminals as a national concern have used national flag.
Kathua rape and murder case is testing the North Pole/South Pole alliance of PDP and BJP. The decision to hand over the case to the crime branch of JK Police is being put under severe strain by BJP in an open show of defiance of the government of they are a part of. The diverse stand of PDP and BJP is as far apart as South Pole is from North Pole.
The defiance of government decision started with Hindu Ekta Manch emerging overnight to challenge the findings of Crime Branch of JK Police that led to the arrest of SPO Deepak Khajuria followed by detention of another SPO. The arrest of police personnel has to have a strong circumstantial evidence, laced with irrefutable facts. Moreover, the findings of Crime Branch need judicial substantiation in the court of law before a verdict is passed. By demanding a CBI probe, aspersions are cast on the efficacy and impartiality of JK State police force. It is quite evident that the entire criminal procedure as well as the judicial process is being thwarted by adopting an agitated approach with communal overtones.
The way a case and murder of minor Gujjar girl Asifa is being used to cater to constituencies demonstrates the utter disregard in which BJP holds the decisions of the government, they are a part of. The presence of BJP ministers—Choudhary Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga in the Hiranagar rally held to support the agitation is morally reprehensible, notwithstanding its political implications.
The presence of the ministers in the rally brought several issues to the fore. Why were the ministers present in the rally demanding transfer of case to CBI, while the political executive they are a part of has decided on a probe by Crime Branch of JK Police? How could ministers justify their presence, while the administration had prohibited public assemblies? Moreover, how did the administration allow the rally to be held while prohibitory orders were in place? Do the laws hold a different connotation in some plain districts of Jammu, supposed to be the core constituency of BJP?
Several questions need answers, yet none is forthcoming, given the fact that BJP feels free to interpret law, as it suits it. The prevailing power structure remains with Delhi the fountainhead of how polity works, especially in conflict-ridden JK State. BJP retains enough room to operate in the state in the manner it deems fit. As events unwind, one after another the fragile communal make-up of the state is put to severe test. National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana might well have a point in suggesting that Jammu is heading toward a communal flare-up and if not addressed timely it would set the entire state on fire. Rana sees a design to attack the majority community in Jammu. Addressing a seminar organised by Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he linked the campaign against Rohingyas to a wider design.
He said, “The campaign against Rohingyas is more than it meet eyes, I have a feeling that 1500 or 2000 Rohingyas are not an issue. The issue is a larger design to attack a particular community, which happens to be the majority community in Jammu and Kashmir.” The campaign against Rohingyas after the militant attack in Jammu suburb—Sunjwan and the rape and murder of Asifa in Kathua followed in close proximity. Handful of Rohingya refugees living in Jammu should hardly be a source of concern, yet their religious identity comes handy to give their presence a name and a meaning far apart how it needs to be viewed in normal run of events. Refugees of all hues, all religious identities are refugees. They cannot be permanent settlers, come what may. Their presence however may not be used to affect the lives of permanent residents of JK State, as defined by law.
Working up a normal run of events into an abnormal state has definite designs. BJP as the ruling partner in Jammu has failed to deliver what it promised to its constituents in Jammu. It is the same story beyond the state in what is called the cow belt. There is thus a definite design to hold on to BJP constituencies by highlighting cultural nationalistic approach, which is a mix of nationalism, religion and culture. If it puts other communities to gross disadvantage, so be it, runs the refrain of Hindutva. The majority community in JK State remains the special target, as it pays in the countrywide run to pin it down. The media, especially the electronic media drums support for the chosen approach. Kathua agitation by Hindu Ekta Manch fits in the larger picture, the plea to handover the investigation to CBI is a mere ruse.
—Courtesy: Greater Kashmir
[Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

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