Ali Sukhanver - -
A pregnant woman gang-raped and seven members of her family including her toddler daughter callously murdered; what else could be more brutal¿ That was 3rd March 2002 and it all happened in a village near Ahmedabad India during the Gujarat Riots. The name of that 21 years old unlucky Muslim woman is Bilkis Bano. 11 convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment for that brutality; now on India’s 76th Independence Day in 2022, they all have been released by the Gujarat government under its remission policy. Mockingly the culprits had to stay in Godhra jail for 15 years for their heinous crime. And more pathetic is the fact that the released culprits were given a very warm rather passionate welcome by their relatives and friends outside the Godhra jail.
According to the Hindustan Times, a committee was formed a few months back to look into the matter of the 11 convicts which unanimously recommended ‘remission’ of all the 11 convicts in the case. Later the recommendations were sent to the state government for final approval which issued the orders of their release. Injustice leading to cruelty, suppression and violation of basic human rights has been the most grievous issue of the Indian society at the hands of the government. Though a large portion of the Indian society comprises of the people having a very moderate approach towards life but a handful extremist mindset is also always there; unfortunately that extremist mindset is getting stronger and stronger and prevailing over the whole society simply because of the support and supervision of the BJP government.
The worst example of this support to the extremist element was witnessed when on 5th August 2019, the BJP government took a very inhuman step against the people of the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 and the Article 35-A. These were the Articles that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them. These privileges included the ability to purchase land and immovable property, ability to vote and contest elections, seeking government employment and availing other state benefits such as higher education and health care. Non-permanent residents of the state, were not entitled to these privileges even if they were Indian citizens. The female permanent residents would be deprived of these privileges if they married someone out of state; said the Article 35-A. On 5 August 2019, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind issued a new Presidential Order which nullified the Article 35-A, and took back all privileges earlier given to the people of Jammu-Kashmir State. The helpless people of the State raised their protesting voices against that abrogation but their voices were crushed by using military force.
After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A, things are now at their worst in the Jammu-Kashmir valley. The Territory was given a special autonomous status through Article 35-A and all the provisions of the Indian Constitution, which were applicable to the Indian states did not apply to the territory. Due to this Article, Jammu and Kashmir was a region, which enjoyed separate constitution, flag and official language. It was only because of this Article that except for defense, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Indian Parliament needed the concurrence of the so-called government of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the abrogated Article debarred non-Kashmiris from acquiring property and jobs in government institutions in the territory. After abrogation of this Article the people of Jammu & Kashmir are in the worst state of helplessness. They have lost their political identity as well as their weightage of vote-power as more than 2 million non-local voters have been added to the voters’ lists in IIOJK since 5th August 2019. Experts are of the opinion that this new induction to the list of voters would simply change the demographics of the State and directly affect the right of self-determination of the native residents of the valley. This unfair addition of non locals in electoral rolls will enable BJP & RSS to implement their fascist agenda more emphatically. Ultimately the fascist Modi government shall succeed in installing a puppet BJP Chief Minister in IIOJK to subjugate the masses.
More shocking is the fact that India is doing all that injustice by violating the UNSC resolution and disregarding the international norms. It seems no one is there to stop this ‘genocide’ and even the so-called ‘international peace-keepers’ are providing support to the Indian hegemonic designs with their criminal quietness. Silence over injustice in itself is a heinous crime and it simply encourages the ‘future-criminals’. Providing favour and support to any criminal simply means encouragement of crime. The unjust remission ‘awarded’ to the criminals involved in gang rape of Bilkis Bano would encourage other rapists behind the bars and they all would wait anxiously for the Independence Day of India every year.