[NOTE: The following article contains graphic content.]
Outrage has sparked in India as the horrific details of an 8-year-old girl’s gang-rape have been released.
The Muslim Indian girl, Asifa Bano, was grazing her horse in the green fields in the India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, when a Hindu man followed and kidnapped her.
With a friend’s help, the kidnapper took the little girl to the nearby Hindu temple and sedated her with sleeping pills. According to the local police, the girl was held in the temple for the next three days, where the kidnapper and his friends repeatedly raped her.
According to the BBC, Asifa was then hit on the head and strangled to death.
The bruised body of little Bano was found in a forest near the city of Kathua. According to the police, there were 8 people involved in the horrific incident. All of them have been identified as belonging to the Hindu religion, while the little girl was a Muslim. This has given rise to debate that religious hate might have been involved in the act.
Reportedly, the accused’s motive was to kick Asifa’s nomadic tribe out of the area. Two of the accusers are police officers, who were bribed with amounts equal to thousands of dollars.
Talking to the BBC, Asifa’s mother stated that she, along with her husband, rushed towards the forest when they heard of their beloved girl’s body found there.
“She had been tortured. Her legs were broken. Her nails had turned black and there were blue and red marks on her arm and fingers,” she said.
Shockingly, Hindu nationalists have been carrying out rallies not in the support of Asifa, but for the accusers. This has raised religious tension in the country. According to the Hindu nationalists, some of the investigators in the police are Muslims and they can’t be trusted; since Asifa was a Muslim, they believe the police are bound to be biased.
Hindus are protesting in Kathua. Women have blocked the roads and are on hunger strikes. According to The New York Times, one of the protesters, Bimla Devi, said, “They are against our religion. If the accusers are not released, we will burn ourselves.’’
The New York Times further reported that the police has matched the DNA of the accusers, and they did indeed rape Asifa. Despite this, protesters continue to speak in their support.
However, there are many campaigning for Asifa too. Many on Twitter are joining the hashtag #JusticForAsifa. People from all parts of the world, including the Bollywood fraternity, have raised voices against the cruelty.
Inhuman!!! Appalling !!!!! Justice has to has to be served!!!!! #Asifa
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) April 12, 2018
Yet again we've failed as a society. Can't think straight as more chilling details on little Asifa's case emerge…her innocent face refuses to leave me. Justice must be served, hard and fast! https://t.co/xrW5RVffLe
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) April 12, 2018
— Armeena Khan (@ArmeenaRK) April 13, 2018
Strong, clear cut action against fiends who commit and defend rape. Standing up for our girls inviolable right to live. If our country does have laws then where is the justice? #Kathua #JusticeforAsifa #BetiBachao #EnoughIsEnogh #India #areyoulistening #ourgreatleader pic.twitter.com/juRZqMa4zu
— Tillotama Shome (@TillotamaShome) April 13, 2018
HOW do human beings go through evil acts on another human? During an act, how do they not stop? Is there no concience? No guilt? No regret? No humanity? HOWWW do you allow yourself to go through raping and killing a child?! Cannot understand it. #JusticeforAsifa
— Parineeti Chopra (@ParineetiChopra) April 12, 2018
How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil?
What happened to Asifa at #Kathua is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished.
What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 12, 2018
How many more children like baby Asifa will be sacrificed at the intersect of religion & politics? How many more children will have to suffer unimaginable crimes before we wake up? I’m disgusted. It’s time for swift action. We owe it to Asifa and to humanity. #justiceforAsifa.
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 12, 2018
— Nawazuddin Siddiqui (@Nawazuddin_S) April 13, 2018
Those who attempt to justify the gang rape of an 8 year old girl on the basis of her religion cannot be called human beings. India's slide towards a morally bankrupt society devoid of a conscience is happening faster than we thought possible. #JusticeforAsifa
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) April 12, 2018
Imagine what goes through the mind of an 8 yr old as she is drugged, held captive, gang raped over days and then murdered.
If you don’t feel her terror, you are not human.
If you don’t demand Asifa get justice, you belong to nothing.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) April 12, 2018
Is this really the kind of country we we want to be known as to the world today ?? If we can’t stand up now for this 8 year old girl regardless of our gender,caste,colour or religion then we don’t stand for anything in this world.. not even humanity.. makes me sick to the stomach pic.twitter.com/BDcNuJvsoO
— Sania Mirza (@MirzaSania) April 12, 2018
This really d work of human beings?Breaks my heart 2know v r capable of such atrocities.V need even more activism,courage, outspokenness, communication,awareness, aggression.Whatever v need 2make sure this doesnt happen again,lets do it!!Punishment? education ? Whatever it takes! https://t.co/HeDN8EP7Py
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) April 12, 2018
The opposition party Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, led a candlelight march in the capital of India on Thursday night. There are several planned protests to be held in New Delhi over the weekend.