Unnao, Kathua horrors jolt India; BJP unfazed

Deccan Chronicle.  | Deccan Chronicle

Opinion, DC Comment

BJP spokesmen are being brazen. They speak of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) being constituted.

BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

Two recent horrific crimes that have jolted the nation’s conscience — one in UP’s Unnao being the rape of a minor girl, allegedly by a BJP MLA, and the later thrashing and killing of her father in police custody as he had the temerity to complain; and the other at Kathua, near Jammu, where the abduction and rape of an eight-year-old child of the nomadic Bakerwal tribe by police personnel, apparently because she was Muslim, has caused tension and political unease — do not appear to have affected the BJP leadership very much.

At least there seem to be no signs of it. The Union home ministry hasn’t spoken out, when at the very least there has been an open violation of the law on rape, which says if the complaint concerns a minor, the alleged culprit must be taken into custody rightaway. Key changes in the law on rape had been wrought following the infamous Nirbhaya incident of December 2012.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi can lead his flock on a protest hungerstrike on Thursday against the so-called irresponsible attitude of the Opposition parties, but he is not one to publicly nudge UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath or the two BJP ministers from Jammu in the Mehbooba Mufti government, who have tried to thwart action against those accused.

After the Unnao incident, the minor complained to the CM. As nothing happened, she tried to kill herself. She was removed to a local hotel and is apparently being held incommunicado there by the police. Her father was thrashed in police custody by the brother of the BJP MLA accused of rape, and succumbed to his injuries. Many days have passed. The rape incident dates back to June 2017.

A more self-respecting chief minister may have resigned by now, owning moral responsibility in such an extraordinary case; or may have been asked by his party to do so. But BJP spokesmen are being brazen. They speak of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) being constituted. This is a sure sign of causing delay to fix the evidence. The MLA being accused is free and smilingly gives media interviews. A few minor policemen have been suspended. BJP leaders still mouth the slogans that are now meaningless: “Beti bachao, beti padhao” and “Sabka saath, sabka vikas”.

In the Kathua case of January this year, a group of lawyers, whose political loyalties can hardly be difficult to guess, physically tried to stop the filing of a case against the accused persons recently. In doing so, they have dishonoured their profession. Lawyers are technically “officers of the court”. The poor child had been taken to a temple, violated and murdered. Yet BJP ministers have sought to defend those being accused. The communal card is all too apparent.

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