[<<We also call upon the government to ensure that investigations by the
Crime Branch are fast tracked and are fair to be followed by a fast track
court trial so that justice can be dispensed.>>]


Justice for Asifa: 8yr old girl raped and murdered in Kathua, J&K

Women's initiative for Justice for Asifa started this petition to Jammu and
Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and 1 other

This petition is an initiative by a group of women from Jammu and Kashmir
(names below) appealing for justice in the case of rape and murder of 8
year old girl in Hiranagar, Kathua.

Justice for Asifa, Kathua rape and murder victim

 We express great anguish over the unjustifiable delay in the
investigations into the heinous rape and murder of a minor eight year old
Bakerwal girl, Asifa in Rassana village, Hiranagar, Kathua district. We are
equally concerned over the excessive politicization and communalization of
an incident which is clearly one of sexual exploitation, sexual brutality
and murder. We are also concerned by the brazen manner in which
ultra-nationalistic discourse is being used to counter the campaigns for
justice and shield the culprits.

Asifa Bano’s body was found in the forests of Rassana on January 17,  a
week after she went missing. Her body bore torture marks and she had been
raped before she was killed. It need not be elaborated that Asifa belonged
to the marginalised and downtrodden nomadic tribe whose vulnerability and
victimization is well recorded.

Sequence of events shows that there has been a deliberate attempt by a
section from within the government to thwart the process of investigations
in the case, right from the time of her disappearance. News reports have
pointed out the reluctance of the police to lodge a missing report and
begin a manhunt to trace the girl. Even after her body was recovered, the
necessary process of investigation including collection of evidence and
recording of statements was not adequately done. Instead, the family of the
victim and those campaigning for justice have been constantly harassed and

The investigations have shifted hands from the first Special Investigating
Team (SIT) comprising police to a second SIT to the Crime Branch, which is
presently probing the case. A minor boy and two SPOs have been arrested as
prime suspects but the investigations are not making much headway. While
the Crime Branch is following the legal procedure, the pace of work is
being obstructed by the pitch of communalization and politicization. Any
attempt to shift the case to any other investigating agency at this
juncture would further hamper the investigations and we fear that this may
be done with a design to shield and protect the guilty.

We feel that there is a deliberate attempt to hush up the case by building
up a communal narrative around the heinous crime and its investigations.
Shockingly, the vested interests trying to sabotage the investigations
through the communalization of the crime and its politicization do not only
include a fringe right wing group but also two sitting senior ministers in
the PDP-BJP ruling alliance. Such a situation has further encouraged other
political groups to counter the narrative not from the victim’s perspective
but for petty political goals and for fueling the communal discourse.

We call upon all political groups to put an end to the horrifying
politicization and communalization of the crime; as well as to stop the
harassment to the family of Asifa. As women, we are extremely shocked and
appalled by the manner in which incidents of gender oppression are
appropriated by patriarchal mindsets within and outside the corridors of
power to subvert justice and even rob the victims of their victimhood.

We also call upon the government to ensure that investigations by the Crime
Branch are fast tracked and are fair to be followed by a fast track court
trial so that justice can be dispensed.

1.    Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor Kashmir Times

2.    Nighat Shafi Pandit, Founder-Chairperson of HELP Foundation

3.    Neerja Mattoo, Writer and Educationist (Retd. College Principal)

4.    Shehla Rashid Shora, Former vice president JNU Students Union

5.    Nitasha Kaul, Academic, writer and poet

6.    Pawan Bali, Senior journalist and film-maker

7.    Mandeep Reen, Advocate J&K High Court

8.    Nyla Ali Khan, writer and Visiting Professor at the University of

9.    Qurat-ul-Ain, Educationist and social activist

10.  Mantasha Binti Rashid, Scholar and Fulbright Fellow

11.  Marvi Slathia, Research Scholar at JNU

12.  Nusrat Andrabi, Educationist and retired college principal

13.  Dr Syeda Afshana, Columnist and faculty at MERC, University of Kashmir

14.  Ezabir Ali, Women Rights Activist)

Peace Is Doable

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