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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

As India Unites For Justice In Kathua & Unnao Rape Cases, Gurmehar Kaur Asks What Took So Long

  • IWB Post
  •  April 16, 2018

All across the nation, massive protests took place in the past week, with the public wanting justice in the Kathua rape-murder case of 8-year-old and the Unnao rape case. Demanding from the government the quick prosecution of the accused, the protesters, shouting slogans and carrying banners, marched in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Jammu and other cities.

People also took part in the ‘Not in my name’ protest against the rape cases at the Parliament Street in Delhi and demanded the removal of the Yogi Adityanath government in UP for protecting Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an MLA, in the Unnao rape case.

Kathua rape Case

People take part in ‘Not In My Name’ protest against the rape case in Unnao and Kathua, at Parliament Street in New Delhi. Image source

Don’t these protests trigger the memory of a similar barbarian crime? The brutal rape of 23-year-old Nirbhaya on December 16, 2012, in the national capital that led to nationwide protests.

Kathua rape Case

A gild holds a placard during a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, in Kochi. Image source

Kathua rape Case

A demonstrator holds a placard during a silent protest ‘Not In My Name’ in support of rape victims following high profile cases in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh states, in New Delhi. Image source

The question is- Why did it take us six years to stand up against these cruel, inhuman acts? It’s not that in the past years no such crime has happened, so why did we wait for the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old innocent child to raise our voice?- a question whose answer Gurmehar Kaur, activist, and author, demands in her article in Vogue.

“Why did it take an incident such as this for an outrage of this sort? Have we become so immune to this country and its capital’s status as the “Rape Capital” of the world that when women, girls, and month-old babies are raped we lower our heads in shame, avert our eyes and move on without significant outrage—silently? The answer is YES,” she wrote.

Kathua rape Case

“After every single incident of such inhumanity, we tend to pretend that life is normal, that all is well and that we are safe in a nation with rape as its culture. “We can turn our phones and screens off, take comfort in assuming that life has gone back to normal, and remain untouched by the violence happening in completely different parts of the country, far away from home. But does life really go back to normal?” she questioned.

“Tomorrow we will wake up and seemingly get back to the mundane, we will reach into our cupboard looking for clothes, but pick a kurta over those denim shorts. When the sun goes down in the evening our feet will turn our way back home, back to the only place we think we’re safe. Empty streets will seem to beckon those who believe the greatest way to bring honor to their own is to rip that of others,” she added.

And after the media outrage cycle over the Kathua rape case ends, women of India will once again survive every single day with the fear of being another victim. “Because in every step we take, there’s that faint voice of caution that will constantly remember Jyoti Singh and the face of the little girl in ponytails and the countless other nameless and faceless victims and survivors of horrific acts of assault, violence, and rape as a reminder and a warning,”

She concluded with the declaration that “it’s time to voice our rage, against the privilege of the powerful, of our sense of robbed security and our solidarity with the ones who we have lost along the way and those who speak out against the odds. This is our wakeup call.”

With the eight accused, Sanji Ram, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma” arrested, the trial in the Kathua gang rape and murder case begins on today.

But even if they are convicted and punished for their cruel deeds, what assurance do we have that there won’t be another victim? Well, there will be if we quit being mannequins and not reserve our protests for a few, not wait years before remembering that everyone deserves justice and stand up for everyone who has been wronged.

H/T: Hindustan Times and Vogue

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