Two countries, two girls, two rapes, but two different ends
Imran Ali, who was convicted for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in Kasur, Pakistan, was hanged to death today morning in Kot Lakhpat Central Jail. The police had arrested Imran two weeks after he raped and killed the minor girl and threw her body into a dumpster. While Imran met his fate, closer home when would Kathua rape victim get justice?
The similarity between the two cases
On the same day, the 7-year-old was found raped and murdered in Pakistan, i.e. on January 10, another 8-year-old met the same fate - miles away from Kasur - in Kathua, India. The victim disappeared on January 10 and her mutilated body was found on January 17 by a neighbor. Both the rapes triggered protests in their respective countries but perhaps, with different intensities.
The Kasur case that outraged Pakistan
Right after her body was found, the heinous crime triggered nationwide protests in Pakistan. Acting on the widespread outcry, police did DNA tests of more than 1,000 suspects, and finally arrested Imran. On February 17, in a rather swift judgment, the court handed him four counts of death sentences, one life imprisonment, a 7-year jail term and a hefty fine of Rs. 4.1 million.
A campaign #JusticeFor Zainab was launched on social media
Anger over negligence by authorities led to protests that also resulted in two deaths when police fired into the crowd. A #JusticeForZainab campaign was launched, and 80,000 people signed a petition on Change.org to hang the abusers.
Closer home, the Kathua case that "outraged" India
Closer home, the Kathua rape was equally horrifying. Four months since she was kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered, India woke up to the gory details of her rape filed in the chargesheet. TV channels used it as a click bait, celebrities did a PR campaign, but till now, she has not been served justice. Now, after six months, we have forgotten about her.
Kathua rape: Here's how she was treated
The chargesheet in the gangrape-murder of the eight-year-old in Kathua revealed chilling details. She was sedated and confined inside a local temple, gangraped thrice to allegedly get rid of the Bakarwal Muslim community. On January 14, the accused smashed the girl's head with a stone and dumped her body. The victim's disfigured body was found in a forest area near Kathua on January 17.
Kathua rape case opened a fresh "Hindu-Muslim" debate
While Kasur's rape opened a debate of the rampant child abuse in Pakistan, our country, apparently, stepped backwards and communalized the entire incident. It was not about the victim anymore, or even justice. The politicians made sure to give it a 'Hindu Muslim' angle.
The justice delivered and "undelivered"
While the Kasur victim's rapist has been hanged to death today, the Kathua case is still pending. The accused have pleaded 'Not Guilty' despite evidence against them. The key witness of the case, Talib Hussain suddenly found himself inside the lock-up after being accused of domestic violence, where he was almost killed. Notably, Talib was the first one to raise his voice.
Will the real India raise its voice?
It is about time that we see a closure in this case. Can India's justice system ensure that? Will she be given justice? And, while we are at it, will any daughter in this country be truly safe?