The rape & murder of an eight year old child is a tragedy we must all condemn & demand justice for. That an eight year old is subjected to the brutality that the victim in Kathua faced is terrible and we must stand up against it. We must fight to ensure that justice is served.
But we must also realise that rape and sexual abuse are reality for many children 8 years old and even younger all over India. Yes, we have a problem. But not because the statistics say so, not because it happened in a temple, or for whatever other reason but that it happened at all! Even one rape is far too many!
And I would have stood with you if that was the crux of the message that you delivered. Unfortunately you choose to highlight the smaller of the problems. That it happened in a temple, that the perpetrator was Hindu and the victim Muslim. Communal disharmony is not unknown in India but to highlight just that and neglect the victim and the crime, because that is indeed what the debate has moved to, is a crime which you are all guilty of.
It’s disheartening, and perhaps a reflection of why this happens time and again, that your message has completely derailed the conversation. You say you are ashamed, of what? The crime or that it was done in a “devisthan”? You can scream as vociferously as you like that it’s the crime you condemn but your placard says otherwise.
The fact that the rape happened months ago and only got picked up now – after the revelation that the child was kept in the temple again exposes your agenda. If your fight against child sexual abuse were serious, you would’ve been there from the get go!
Yes, we need justice for the Kathua victim but by taking up just her cause you’ve let down millions of other children who are as deserving of justice. The fact that you found just cause to condemn child sexual abuse after only this incident exposes you for the fakes you are. Because children all over India face what the Kathua victim did and much worse. I won’t bring up Unnao or Assam or other incidents quoted in the media but the cases of sexual abuse of children in schools in Bangalore. If any of you reads the papers you will know there have been multiple cases in the past few years. Children of kindergarten age were abused. At school that they attend EVERYDAY! By the very people who are supposed to educate them!
Religious institutions have long been known as places of sexual abuse. The catholic clergy has been and is still guilty of widespread child abuse and yet you choose to highlight that it happened in a temple & paint all Hindus with that brush? Terror has no religion but Saffron terror and Hindu extremists exist! Rape has no religion but Hindus are guilty of raping Muslim children. See the agenda here? Whether they are mosques, churches or now temples, shouldn’t be the point of the debate but that it happened at all! And in highlighting that you have done injustice to the victim and to millions of other victims.
Let’s move on to the most famous of your clan. To all the Bollywood stars who held up the same placards. The power you wield over your fans is most politicians’ wet dream. But as Peter Parker’s uncle said, with great power comes great responsibility. Bollywood, however, has never been great with that. Responsibility and accountability are both something you run from. Case in point Salman Khan and the Blackbuck case. You believe you are above the law and in that way, no different from our politicians. You sit in your ivory towers and when the occasional glance below doesn’t sit well with you, you take to twitter to raise hue and cry.
While all of Hollywood stood up for the #MeToo movement, Bollywood was silent. And anyone who has seen a Bollywood movie knows how deep misogyny runs in the industry. How many of you stood up for Kangana Ranaut when there was controversy raging about her? One movie on sanitary napkins and you assume to speak for all of us! But let’s forgive all that. If you claim to be the social justice warriors that you are, why does that seem to be limited to twitter? With your resources and clout, you could make a real change. Instead you choose to sit on Karan Johar’s coffee couch and bad mouth each other just to make sure you stay in his good books.
So if you’re ashamed, you should be. Because Bollywood is partly responsible for the misogyny in our society. Songs like ‘Inkaar mein jo chupa hai wo ikraar ho’, the portrayal of sexual abuse and stalking as gestures of love and the violation of a women’s dignity through rape are just some of the nonsense you propagate. So get off your high horses and face reality. You are part of the problem!
Now let’s down to the real deal. Rape is rape, irrespective of the place of occurrence or the religious identity of the perpetrator and victim. It’s terrible and has no place in our society. Our children must be protected! Shame doesn’t do shit. Words don’t do shit. Candle light vigils are just that. The placards were probably just to draw attention to the fact that you are ‘aware’ and you moved on a second after you posted a picture on social media. I know many who certainly did!
If you are serious about changing this, then it’s time to take action – read up on POCSO. See how you can make the laws tighter to make sure no person will ever even dream of touching our children. If you live near a school or college, keep an eye out for vehicles or people who don’t have kids but tend to hang out during opening and closing times, these are the perverts who hang out around a 1-2km radius around schools/colleges and flash innocent kids on the way to school or college. Watch out for perverts on public transport who stand unnaturally close to children. Keep an eye on anyone children interact with and who make you uncomfortable. Take children seriously when they don’t want to be with someone!
We are a country of myriad problems. Our diversity is what both makes and breaks us. It is our duty as citizens that we don’t let the differences break us but find ways to bridge gaps and understanding beyond difference. By maligning or painting one community for a crime will not change/stop the crime. It will only add more problems to our already long laundry list. Realise there is an agenda when religion, caste, colour or race is involved in a narrative. Think beyond the headline and read between the story lines. See where the stories are coming from and how truthful reports are. Be someone who mends rather than someone who destroys. And here is what sets me and many like me apart from the likes of you:
I am India.
I am angry.
I will not let agenda get in the way of justice!
I will do everything I can to ensure this doesn’t happen again!
Someone who is serious about fighting child sexual abuse