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Asifa Bano’s rape and murder sparks nationwide outrage in India

Thousands took to streets in India’s capital, New Delhi, denouncing the rape of Asifa and government’s inaction.

Special Correspondent

The rape and murder of 8-Year-Old Asifa Bano in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has sparked nationa wide outrage and protests, as thousands of people took to streets in India’s capital New Delhi on Friday to demanding the government take action and bring the culprits to justice.
Bano, was abducted and brutally gang-raped for three consecutive days by two to three men from the dominant Hindu sect, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, in January.

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Thousands took to streets in India’s capital, New Delhi, denouncing the rape of Asifa and government’s inaction.

Special Correspondent

The rape and murder of 8-Year-Old Asifa Bano in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has sparked nationa wide outrage and protests, as thousands of people took to streets in India’s capital New Delhi on Friday to demanding the government take action and bring the culprits to justice.
Bano, was abducted and brutally gang-raped for three consecutive days by two to three men from the dominant Hindu sect, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, in January.

Bano, who belonged to a family of nomadic shepherds of the Bakharwal community, went missing on Jan. 10 from Rasana village, some 72km east of Jammu city. According to her family, she had gone to the forest to graze some horses. The horses returned, but she didn’t. Several days later, her body crumpled and smeared in blood, was found in the same forest.
Unnamed sources told local media, the perpetrators wanted to drive out Bano’s Bakharwal nomadic community from the Hindu-dominated region of Kathua.
At first, the news of the brutal gangrape was kept hidden by the police and the perpetrators, but months later, when it became public, Hindu nationalists took to the streets defending the perpetrators.
After Bano’s death, her family wasn’t allowed to bury her in the same village. Her family took the victim’s mutilated body to another village, some 7 miles away. The family was forced to flee the village.
Meanwhile, Two state cabinet ministers have resigned following the incident. On Tuesday, favoring the Hindu sect “rapists and murderers,” the Jammu Bar Association called a strike to protest the state police’s “mishandling” of the case’s investigation.
The mob of lawyers had earlier obstructed the police officers from entering the courthouse to file the necessary paperwork of the rape case.
Nearly 40 lawyers were charged Monday with the criminal offense of trying to obstruct the police from filing the necessary paperwork for the court proceedings.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led separatist Hurriyat Conference Thursday accused the state administration and police of being “mute spectators.”
An artist Narendra Singh, painted a sketch over #Kathua, #Unnao and #Nirbhaya rape cases in Moradabad, raising questions on police, and the safety of women in India since Independence
Meanwhile, right activists have raised nearly US$48,000 to help Bano’s family pay for private lawyers’ expenses.
“The charge sheet filed in the case has revealed some chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped before being killed. While the state government says it will not allow the law to be obstructed, her family has little hope that justice will be delivered in the case. They have even left the village. The fact that lawyers in Jammu tried to prevent the Crime Branch from filing a charge sheet in the case has only raised more concerns,” the fundraiser statement added.
Shehla Rashid, a New Delhi-based scholar and activist tweeted, Thursday:
“We’ve reached our 30-day target of raising 10 Lakh rupees for Asifa’s family in 24 hours. We’ve also reached our additional target of 10 Lakh rupees for Unnao survivor - now an orphan - in less than 24 hrs. Final amount raised will be divided equally among both families.”


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‘India’s darkest hour’: Ex-senior officials condemn Indian gov’t over Muslim girl rape case

By  teleSUR

Almost  fifty  former high-ranking civil servants  in India   have penned a scathing letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticizing the right-wing, nationalist government’s weak response to the heinous gang rape and murder of 8-year-old Muslim girl Asifa Bano which has shaken the nation.
Referring to the rape and murder of Asifa, the letter said it was a “moment of existential crisis,” the “darkest hour” in “post-Independence India”.

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By  teleSUR

Almost  fifty  former high-ranking civil servants  in India   have penned a scathing letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticizing the right-wing, nationalist government’s weak response to the heinous gang rape and murder of 8-year-old Muslim girl Asifa Bano which has shaken the nation.
Referring to the rape and murder of Asifa, the letter said it was a “moment of existential crisis,” the “darkest hour” in “post-Independence India”.

“The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into,” the letter warns. “In post-Independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble.”
Bano who belonged to a nomadic community was drugged, held captive in a temple and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and battered to death with a stone in January, the police said.
Referring to the case, the letter called out a “culture of majoritarian belligerence and aggression promoted by the Sangh Parivar (the right-wing, Hindu nationalist group)” which emboldened “rabid communal elements” to pursue their perverse agenda.  The strongly worded letter said the government is responsible for the “terrifying state of affairs.”
“We had hoped that as someone sworn to upholding the Constitution, the Government that you head and the party to which you belong would wake up to this alarming decline, take the lead in stemming the rot and reassure everyone, especially the minorities and vulnerable sections of society that they need not fear for their life and liberty. This hope has been destroyed,” the letter lamented.  
“In both cases, Prime Minister, it is your party which is in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralized control you and your Party President exercise, you more than anyone else have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs,” the former senior bureaucrats said in the letter.
India’s top court on Monday requested that the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of Asifa Bano, the eight-year-old Kathua gangrape, along with the lawyer working on the case as they have faced death threats with increasing pressure mounting on the authorities to solve the case which has left the country outraged.
“I was threatened yesterday (Sunday) that ‘we will not forgive you’. I am going to tell the supreme court that I am in danger,” said lawyer Deepika Singh Rawat who has actively sought an investigation into the case since the girl’s body was found in January.
“As an interim measure, it is directed that the Jammu and Kashmir Police beef up the security and provide adequate security personnel to the family, Deepika Singh Rajawat and family friend Talid Hussain,” the top bench said, India Today reported.
Eight men accused in the case involving the murder and crime of Bano also appeared in front of the state high court as part of the first hearing in the case Monday.
The Crime Branch of police which probed the case filed the main charge sheet against seven people and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district, the newspaper reported.
Viewing the chasm between the Hindus and the Muslims over the case, the Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, another Indian religious sect, to ensure “neutrality” in the case.
On April 13, the highest court also initiated its own judicial process to investigate the lawyers charged with obstruction, saying such impediment, “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice.”
The court has called for responses from the Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Council, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association, as some of the communal riots were triggered by members of the bar and lawyers belonging to these associations.
The Apex court has also sought a response from the state government by April 27,  the next date of hearings, to decide on the request made by Bano’s family of moving the case out of Kathua court to Chandigarh as their hometown, Jammu, continues to deal with a communally-charged atmosphere.


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Kashmir  tense:  No Urs for a Sufi poet in grieving valley

Abid Bashir in Kashmir

Every April, for more than a century, devotees of the mystic poet WahabKhar have travelled from all corners of the Kashmir valley to his mausoleum on a hill, in a village, in Pampore. For the first time though they couldn’t make the pilgrimage because the shrine management took the drastic step of cancelling the annual spiritual event, fearing there would an outbreak of protest against army in the area.

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Abid Bashir in Kashmir

Every April, for more than a century, devotees of the mystic poet WahabKhar have travelled from all corners of the Kashmir valley to his mausoleum on a hill, in a village, in Pampore. For the first time though they couldn’t make the pilgrimage because the shrine management took the drastic step of cancelling the annual spiritual event, fearing there would an outbreak of protest against army in the area.

A few hundred meters from the tomb of the great mystic poet is a huge fortified camp of the army and every year whether one likes it or not they would set up a stall doling out refreshment to the devotees. This year though given the high anti-army sentiment the management felt the presence of army men at the stall might provoke people to protest against the army and thus rather than asking the army not to set up the stall the management took the measure to completely terminate the Urs celebrations.
Not far away from the tomb, the people of Pulwama, Kulgam, and Shopian, and many other areas of Kashmir are still mourning the loss of civilians in the last few weeks, and the shrine management calculated to play it safe by calling off the annual Urs celebration on April 12 and 13.
“Situation was not feasible for mega celebrations this year due to the volatile situation,” said Abdul Hameed Bhat, a senior care taker at the shrine.  “There were apprehensions of law and order problem on the occasion as army would set up free food, drinking water and other refreshment stalls for the devotees.”
Another care taker at the shrine said that the shrine management thought the youth may resort to stone pelting on the army men and the “situation may deteriorate.” “We thought better to call off the celebrations this year. We know sentiments of hundreds of people including female stand hurt,” he said.
Apart from the congregational prayers on the Urs days, the care takers of the shrine would display the lute like musical instrument called Rabab, used by the saint throughout his life.  Rabab has originated from Central Afghanistan and is one of the national musical instruments of the country.

Police  foils  student  protest
Meanwhile, Government forces on Tuesday resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse college students protesting against Kathua rape-and-murder case in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Before stepping outside, the students staged a protest inside the college where they raised slogans in favour of justice to Kathua minor who was gangraped and murdered in Rasana village of Kathua in January this year.
Eight people have so far been arrested in the case, which has triggered global outrage.


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