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India erupts over rape of minors; Kathua incident part of a larger narrative, say protesters

Monday April 16, 2018 0:23 AM, & Agencies

Justice for Asifa

Mumbai/New Delhi: Massive protests were organised across various parts of India, including New Delhi and Mumbai, under “Not In My Name” campaign to demand justice for victims of Kathua and Unnao rape cases.

Hundreds of people led by Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan participated in the protest march called at Parliament Street in the national capital. The protesters included artistes and students, who vented their anger over the incidents and claimed that Muslims in the country were living in fear.

"Today we mourn the rape and murder of a little girl in Kathua. Her crime was that she belonged to the Bakarwal Muslim community that the Hindutva forces want out of the area. Her rape and murder are part of a larger narrative of communal violence with women's bodies being used as a battle field", Saba is quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The protestors also demanded immediate dismissal of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly shielding his party legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping a 17-year-old girl who had gone to his residence seeking a job.

The participants at the "Not In My Name" protest also sought immediate arrest of the two BJP ministers, who led rallies of Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua on March 1 in support of the accused in the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl. The girl's body was found a week after she disappeared from near home in January. The police has arrested a caretaker of a temple and alleged he was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl from a nomadic tribe. The two BJP ministers have resigned from the cabinet after the outrage.

A silent protest was organised in Mumbai which was joined by Kiran Rao, wife of actor Aamir Khan, singer Vishal Dadlani and others. Carrying banners and placards, protesters marched in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities, demanding that government quickly prosecute rape suspects.

Candlelight vigils were also held in Malegaon and at some other places of the country. The candlelight vigil in Malegaon started from the Congress headquarters at Qedwai Road, passed through the iconic Shahidon Ki Yadgaar before ending at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Statue near Malegaon City Police Station.

According to the latest report in the Unnao rape case, the accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an MLA of the ruling BJP, was sent to seven-day custody by a Special CBI court on Saturday, while the medical examination of the 17-year-old victim was conducted at a hospital in Unnao earlier that day.

Accused of raping a 17-year-old and conspiring to kill her father, who died of injuries he sustained during police custody allegedly by Sengar's brother and some aides, was arrested by the CBI on Friday after a day-long interrogation. He was also confronted with some facts by the agency.

In Kathua rape and murder case, police has charged nine including some senior police officers. The 08-year-old girl was held captive in a temple, sedated and gang-raped multiple times before being murdered by the accused. The accused also included a juvenile and his friend who travelled from Uttar Pradesh to Jammu to satisfy his lust.

Meanwhile, dead body of a minor girl - believed to be of 09 to 11 year old, was found last week in Surat, Gujarat. But, nobody has so far claimed the dead body. Doctors who conducted post-mortem at Surat Civil Hospital suspected that the minor girl was tortured and raped before being strangled to death.

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