A Year After Brutal Gang Rape and Murder in Kathua: Apathetic State Agenda, Regressive Policies and Escalating Violence Continued

14 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019

Date Written: February 4, 2019


In 2012 when Jyoti Singh had been raped brutally in a moving bus in Delhi, the massive protest that went for several days could awake the then government which then constituted the Justice Verma Committee and made amendments in the criminal laws relating to rape. However, in January 2018, the socio-political situation is completely altered. Ironically, a Hindutva government is ruling the secular India, so, when an 8-year-old Asifa Bano is grotesquely raped and murdered in Kathua, the dynamics of the situation have completely altered. People on social media this time fiercely debated if this minor deserved to be raped because she belongs to a Muslim nomadic community while the corporate-owned media spilled venom while propounding false theories. Attempts have been made to subvert the process of trial by the group of fanatics who shielded the murderers and justified the rape as a nationalist act while swaying the national flag. They demanded acquittal of the accused persons. Supreme Court intervened to direct in-camera proceedings of the trial and transfer the matter to a different location. Otherwise, the silence of the chauvinist authoritarian state screamed loudly to give up only when pressurized by the outrage. The trial is still on yet this case depicts the rise in larger culture of hate, communal polarization and violence in which a child is brutally targeted. This essay examines these socio-cultural changes that have been taking place where the rights of those at margins are further being pushed because of the apathetic biased attitude of the totalitarian fascist regime which while imposing the ideology of hate is giving rise to the culture of impunity while dismantling the legal system. It ruminates on the socio-legal context relating to violence where the body of a minor is brutally targeted to divide the otherwise layered hierarchical society into 'Us versus Them' while paving the way for the majoritarian hegemony and 'othering' non-Hindus. This is having adverse impact on the situation of women. The impact of miniscule transformations made in law immediately post-Nirbhaya incident got subverted by the rise of patriarchal orthodox elements which are forcefully trying to impose the repulsive communal agenda. The need is therefore to reimagine the gender just society while focusing on the current socio-political context.

Keywords: Rape, Violence, Kathua, Nationalism, Fascism, Patriarchy, Genocide, Communal Rape, Hate, Culture of Violence, Post-Nirbhaya, Otherisation

Suggested Citation

Nigam, Shalu, A Year After Brutal Gang Rape and Murder in Kathua: Apathetic State Agenda, Regressive Policies and Escalating Violence Continued (February 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3328353 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3328353

Shalu Nigam (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

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