Even as political parties play the blame game, these five heroes remain committed to their cause: justice for the 8-year-old.
Over the last few days, anger has taken over TV channels, newspapers, and roads, with people demanding justice for the rape and murder of an 8-year-old tribal girl from Kashmir. Asifa Bano, belonging to the nomadic Bakerwal (goatherd) tribe, was found dead on January 17 in the Hiranagar area of Kathua, a week after she went missing.
Police investigations revealed she was held captive inside a temple, sedated, and repeatedly raped before her murder. The police have arrested eight people, including four police personnel -- a head constable, a sub-inspector and two special police officers -- in the case and filed charges against seven of them. The primary accused include a 15-year-old juvenile, Sanji Ram, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria, Special Police Officer Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar, and Vishal Jangotra. Sub-inspector Anand Dutta and head constable Tilak Raj have been arrested for helping the accused destroy evidence.
Amid the uproar, what gives one hope are the five people who have stood tall to fight the barbaric injustice even as political parties played the blame game.
Rahul Pandita, a writer and journalist, has been reporting the case since Day 1 and has successfully put together the facts that shook the country. His ground report has remained one of the primary evidences in this case.
Deepika Singh Rajawat is the lawyer who is fighting Asifa's case. In spite of receiving death threats and accusations asking her to withdraw from the case, she has remained firm to help the victim get justice.
I don't know till when I will be alive. I might be raped, my modesty may be outraged, I may be killed, I might be damaged. I was threatened yesterday that 'we will not forgive you'. I am going to tell SC tomorrow that I am in danger, Rajawat said in an interview with NDTV.
Known for his exceptional track record, police officer Ramesh Kumar Jalla, SSP Crime Branch, finished investigation of the case days before its scheduled time and helped fast-track the case.
Talib Hussain, a local lawyer and social activist, has been in the forefront seeking justice for the last two months. After the case was noticed, he has been receiving death threats and was attacked by goons in Udhampur town.
The Jammu Chamber of Commerce conducted a press conference in which they lent support to Asifa and distanced themselves from the bandh call given by the now-notorious Jammu Bar Association.
A five-member committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) will visit Kathua city in Jammu and Kashmir and submit a factual report on the case after seeking time from the Supreme Court on April 19, BCI President Manan Mishra said on Sunday. The fact-finding team will include former BCI chief Tarun Agarwal, BCI Co-Chairmen S. Prabakaran and Ramachandra G Shah, Razia Beig, of the Bar Council of Uttrakhand, and Naresh Dikshit, an advocate.
(With inputs from IANS)