The gory details of the rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa Banu in Kathua’s Rasana village near Jammu is enough to turn even the strongest stomachs. Illustrating the horrors enacted upon the young Muslim girl, who belongs to the Bakherwal nomadic community, the 15-page-long chargesheet revealed that the crime was committed by eight men from the same village. The incident has sparked unrest between the Hindu and Muslim residents of the village, spurred on by communal politicians who have clearly lost their moral compasses.
While we encourage you to get more involved in the case, here's a crash course on everything we know so far.
Update: The Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has taken suo moto cognisance of the case, and will be monitoring it closely. In a statement, the court said that no one can be allowed to obstruct justice.
8 horror-inducing details of the rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa
1. NDTV reported that the mastermind behind this plan is Sanji Ram, a temple caretaker, who planned the rape and subsequent murder with the aim to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rasana. He invited his juvenile nephew to participate in this heinous act, along with his friend (Mannu) who abducted her on January 10 from the forest behind Ram’s house, where Asifa often came to graze her horses.
2. According to The Indian Express, the juvenile raped the girl in the jungle, after which which they took her to the temple (devisthana) where they hid her under a table and sedated her by forcing tablets down her throat on an empty stomach for three continuous days.
3. On January 11, as reported by The Times of India, the juvenile informed his cousin Vishal Jangotra about the kidnapping of the girl over the telephone and asked him to return from Meerut if he wanted to ‘satisfy his lust’.
4. The following day, the parents of the missing girl enquired at the devisthana about the whereabouts of their missing daughter and were dismissed by Ram, who said that the girl must be at her relative’s place. Concerned, Asifa’s father Mohd Yousuf lodged a complaint at the Hiranagar station on January 12, accusing Ram’s nephew.
5. The search party that was sent by the Hiranagar Station included a man named Deepak Khajuria, who was a part of the kidnapping and knew of Sanji Ram’s plan the entire time. Only later, when an in-depth investigation began, did it come to light that police officials, namely head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, were bribed with a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh in order to ‘handle the situation’.
6. Over the course of three days, the drugged girl was repeatedly raped. It was after January 13 that Sanji Ram decided that it was time to kill the girl and dump her in the forest.
7. While Mannu, Vishal and the juvenile finally prepared to kill the child, Khajuria stopped them so that he could rape her ‘for a last time’. The minor was mutilated to an extent that her uterus was damaged, but that wasn’t the end of the brutality inflicted on her.
8. Khajuria first attempted to strangle the girl with his bare hands, but when that did not work, he used her dupatta instead, then hit her head twice with a stone just to make sure that she was dead. It was only on January 15 that the victim’s body was mercilessly thrown into the jungle.
As much as this crime has outraged the nation, we learn about protests being organized by corporations like Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the pitiless criminals. It is for time to tell whether justice will prevail for the innocent child, but it is our duty to ensure that the conversation does not end here.