FRONTLINE
Disturbing Division Image Credit: FRONTLINE
Disturbing Division Image Credit: FRONTLINE

Disturbing Division

The manner in which events have shaped the discourse around the Kathua rape and murder serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of using religion for politics.

Shujaat Bukhari

THE HORRIFIC RAPE AND MURDER OF AN eight-year old girl from the Muslim Gujjar-Bakarwal community in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir has added to the festering problem of communalisation the State has been facing for a long time. The incident brought out a sinister side of the problem as at one point of time it looked as if rape were a legitimate weapon to take on the community. Although the whole of Jammu did not rally behind those who, in many ways, tried to protect the perpetrators of the crime, the silence of the majority gave an impression that the politics was well played. The turning point in the case came on April 9 when lawyers in Kathua tried to prevent the crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police from filing a charge sheet in court in connection with the case. The Jammu Bar Association also called for a bandh on April 11 on the matter. Both these appalling developments displayed a high degree of insensitivity. The lawyers in Kathua and in Jammu echoed the “sentiment” of the newly formed Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM), which was riding on victimhood by saying that since the accused were Hindus, they were being “framed” by the Crime Branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had many Muslim officers, including its head, Inspector General of Police Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba.


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