Crime in Kathua: The Hindu Editorial

Crime in Kathua: The Hindu Editorial

Crime in Kathua: The Hindu Editorial

Attempts to undermine the investigation into a little girl’s rape and murder must be resisted

The 15-page charge-sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch on the abduction, rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district is chilling. An unspeakably horrific crime has been overlain with an ugly form of communal politics, which has heightened the feeling of vulnerability among the Bakherwal nomadic community. Asifa Bano had been missing in Rasana village since January 10. On January 17, her mutilated body was found, bearing the marks of gang rape. This week, local lawyers tried to prevent the police from filing the chargesheet, and the Jammu High Court Bar Association called for a bandh on Wednesday demanding that the investigation be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. By all accounts, the demand owes less to any faith in CBI impartiality, and more to the ongoing attempt to influence the police’s investigation that has led to the arrest of eight men, including some policemen charged with destroying evidence. The chargesheet lists as the main conspirator the caretaker of the temple in Rasana where Asifa was allegedly held, and threads together the sequence of events. The insinuation that a local police force that reflects the multi-religious composition of the State cannot be entrusted with a case in which the victim is a Muslim and the alleged accused are Hindus must be strongly resisted.

It is a shame that the State government, a coalition of the J&K Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP, has been so feeble in criticising the sectarian undercurrents. Protests in Kathua have been going on for months, amidst allegations that innocent people are being framed and demands that one of the arrested police officers be released. An organisation called the Hindu Ekta Manch too populated the protests and two BJP ministers from the State government were present at a rally in support of the accused. The Gujjar-Bakherwal community’s sense of isolation, as the dead eight-year-old is sought to be defined by her ethnic and religious identity, is especially heightened given the backdrop of drives to evict them from what they say are their traditional camping sites in forests. One line of inquiry is that the motive for her abduction and assault was to instil fear among the nomads in pressing for their rights to the forests and commons. But while it is understandable that the nomads are feeling the brunt of the intimidation and it is vital to address their larger anxieties, to superimpose the crime on the tussle over forest rights would be to diminish the brutality brought upon the little girl. The investigation must be pursued for the hate crime it is. It does not just tie in with her community’s rights — along with the Unnao rape case in U.P., in which the victim’s father died in police custody this week, it shows how loaded the system is against those seeking justice.


1) Abduction
Meaning: The action of forcibly taking someone away against their will.
Example: “They organized the abduction of Mr Cordes on his way to the airport”
2) Chilling
Meaning: Horrify or frighten (someone).
Example: “The city was chilled by the violence”
Synonyms: Scare, Frighten

Antonyms: Comfort, Reassure
3) Overlain (Overlie)
Meaning: Lie on top of.
Example: “Soft clays overlie the basalt”
4) Nomadic
Meaning: Living the life of a nomad; wandering.
Example: “Nomadic herdsmen”
5) Mutilated
Antonyms Meaning: Inflict a violent and disfiguring injury on.
Example: “Most of the prisoners had been mutilated”
Synonyms: Mangle, Maim
6) Bearing
Meaning: Have or display as a visible mark or feature.
Example: “Many of the papers bore his flamboyant signature”
Synonyms: Display, Exhibit
7) Owes
Meaning: Have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received.
Example: “They have denied they owe money to the company”
Synonyms: Be in debt (to), be indebted (to)

Antonyms: Settle up
8) Conspirator
Meaning: A person who takes part in a conspiracy.
Example: “Conspirators had planned to seize the state”
Synonyms: Conspirer, Plotter
9) Allegedly
Meaning: Used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof.
Example: “He was allegedly a leading participant in the coup attempt”
Synonyms: Reportedly, Supposedly
10) Insinuation
Meaning: An unpleasant hint or suggestion of something bad.
Example: “I’ve done nothing to deserve all your vicious insinuations”
Synonyms: Implication, Inference
11) Entrusted
Meaning: Assign the responsibility for doing something to (someone).
Example: “I’ve been entrusted with the task of getting him safely back”
Synonyms: Give responsibility for, charge, invest
12) Victim
Meaning: A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
Example: “Victims of domestic violence”
Synonyms: Sufferer, Injured party

Antonyms: Attacker, Assailant
13) Accused
Meaning: A person or group of people who are charged with or on trial for a crime.
Example: “The accused was ordered to stand trial on a number of charges”
14) Coalition
Meaning: A temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.
Example: “A coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”
Synonyms: Alliance, Union
15) Feeble
Meaning: Failing to convince or impress.
Example: “A feeble excuse”
Synonyms: Ineffective, Ineffectual

Antonyms: Effective
16) Rally
Meaning: Bring together (forces) again in order to continue fighting.
Example: “The king escaped to Perth to rally his own forces”
Synonyms: Muster, Marshal

Antonyms: Demobilize, Disband
17) Ethnic
Meaning: Relating to a population subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group) with a common national or cultural tradition.
Example: “Ethnic and cultural rights and traditions”
Synonyms: Racial, Race-related
18) Evict
Meaning: Expel (someone) from a property, especially with the support of the law.
Example: “A single mother and her children have been evicted from their home”
Synonyms: Expel, Eject

Antonyms: Admit
19) Abduction
Meaning: The action of forcibly taking someone away against their will.
Example: “They organized the abduction of Mr Cordes on his way to the airport”
20) Instil
Meaning: Gradually but firmly establish (an idea or attitude) in a person’s mind.
Example:  “The standards her parents had instilled into her”
Synonyms: Inculcate, Implant
21) Nomads
Meaning: A member of a people that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals and has no permanent home.
Example: “The withering of their grasslands forced the nomads of the Sahara to descend into the Nile valley”
Synonyms: Itinerant, Traveller
22) Brunt
Meaning: The worst part or chief impact of a specified action.
Example: “Education will bear the brunt of the cuts”
Synonyms: full force, force, Impact
23) Intimidation
Meaning: The action of intimidating someone, or the state of being intimidated.
Example: “The intimidation of witnesses and jurors”
Synonyms: Frightening, Menacing
24) Superimpose
Meaning: Place or lay (one thing) over another, typically so that both are still evident.
Example: “The number will appear on the screen, superimposed on a flashing button”
25) Tussle
Meaning: A vigorous struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something.
Example: “There was a tussle for the ball”
Synonyms: Scuffle, Fight
26) Diminish
Meaning: Make or become less.
Example: “The new law is expected to diminish the government’s chances”
Synonyms: Decrease, Decline

Antonyms: Increase, Flare up
27) Brutality
Meaning: Savage physical violence; great cruelty.
Example: “Brutality against civilians”
Synonyms: Savagery, Cruelty

Antonyms: Gentleness, Kindness

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