The rape of all human values

When an eight-year-old girl is kidnapped, kept in confinement for seven days, gang-raped and killed, no human being should be in doubt about how to respond to it. (Reuters photo)

Two terrible cases of rape and murder in Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, which came to light last week, have shocked the nation and showed how basic human values are in danger from a politics of impunity and a perverse morality. The incidents happened in states ruled by the BJP, and the party, its governments and its leaders are in the dock in many ways - for committing the crime, supporting it or protecting the perpetrators. When an eight-year-old girl is kidnapped, kept in confinement for seven days, gang-raped and killed, no human being should be in doubt about how to respond to it. But two BJP ministers in the state government, the party in Jammu and the bar association there supported the rapist killers in public. The rally in support of the culprits was held under the national flag. Shamefully, the reason was that the girl was a Muslim.

In Unnao, an 18-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by a ruling party MLA but the Yogi Adityanath government shielded the legislator. No action was taken on the girl's complaint for months. The rape survivor's father was thrashed by the MLA's kin and police and died in hospital with tell-tale torture marks on his body. A high court order was needed to arrest the MLA, and this was not surprising in a state where a rape case against another BJP leader, Swami Chinmayanand, was withdrawn last week, brazenly amidst the Unnao shame. There is no point in claiming that the J&K ministers have resigned now. They had justified their action and the state party had backed them. They were told to resign only when it was realised that the national outrage and the protests would hurt the party politically. Yogi Adityanath, who otherwise metes out summary justice to petty criminals, did not move against his MLA for many days and the police tried to sabotage the case. It is now with the CBI, and that does not inspire much confidence.

The BJP is guilty of rank insensitivity, complicity and obstruction of the law in both the cases. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's response, as in the case of his response to attacks by cow vigilantes on Dalits and Muslims, was delayed and too general and inadequate. When a rape victim is condemned, the crime is communalised and the culprits are protected by a political party and the government, it means not only the failure of the rule of law and the system of justice but a coarsening of the mind and utter debasement of politics. It is an unnerving thought that the country's dominant national party has such a warped sense of justice and human values.

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