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Justice for little victims


No words can describe the horrific circumstances the little girl must have endured at the hands of her captors

Protesters hold candles in Mumbai. The rapes ignited outrage around India and the world. PICTURE: EPA-EFE

SO KARMA has well and truly come back to bite me. It’s back to the grindstone. But, yuppie, it’s not long before we have a nice break again. Yes, next week is a short week and a nice long weekend to look forward to. So in your face Karma. You might have won the round this week, but I get my revenge next week.

But, speaking of Karma, those ministers who came out in support of the alleged rapists of little Asifa, the eight-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted in India, have been forced to resign.

No words can describe the horrific circumstances the little girl must have endured at the hands of her captors.

The girl from a nomadic community that roams the forests of Kashmir was drugged, held captive in a temple and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and battered with a stone in January, the police said.

According to the charge sheet the kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl was part of a plan to drive the nomads out of Kathua district in Jammu, the mostly Hindu portion of India’s only Muslim majority state.

The alleged ringleader, retired bureaucrat Sanji Ram, looked after a small Hindu temple where the girl had been held captive and assaulted.

Two of the eight on trial were police officers who are accused of being bribed to stifle the investigation.

According to Indian media reports, Asifa was a nomad girl who loved to take horses for grazing to the forest near her home in Rasana, a quiet village in Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The reason Asifa was picked as a target by Ram, the report says, was that he knew she “often comes to the forest” and, it was simple; they wanted to drive the Muslim community out, according to the investigation.

The sad part is that Asifa isn’t the only young victim, we have countless here in our own backyard.

What is even sadder, nobody seems to really bother much. I can almost guarantee that some of our own little Asifa’s are forced to endure even more horrific circumstances.

One little angel that comes to mind is Poppie van der Merwe. The little girl had to endure tremendous amounts of pain before we heard her story.

Had it been for just one vigilant person, Poppie might have just become an unknown statistic.

The same as little Asifa.

Ahead of the trial, the lawyer representing the family of the victim said she had been threatened with rape and death for taking up her case, and requested for the trial to be held outside Jammu and Kashmir.

“I was threatened yesterday that ‘we will not forgive you’. I am going to tell Supreme Court that I am in danger,” said lawyer Deepika Singh Rawat who has fought for a proper investigation since the girl’s body was found in January.

We need more people like these – to stand up for these little angels who cannot speak for themselves no matter what the cost.

But we can’t wait until it is too late and all that is left is a dead body.

We can not also wait till we have the 16 days of activism at the end of the year. Just as much as there is a fight for justice for Asifa, we should also have fights for justice for our little victims. We just have to do it before it’s too late and another little angel loses their lives.