Kishanpur: Crime and atrocities against women, girls in India has been recorded since time immemorial and yet though modernization has infiltrated the Indian society, justice is still denied while people in power stay mum, watching, paying deaf ears to such crimes.
Parents of the young minor eight-year-old Muslim girl Asifa who went missing from her home in January and was only later found murdered thrown away in Jammu’s Kathua region narrate the discriminative calamity that had driven the family into irreparable despair scaring their souls for time immemorial say the girl had only recently got new clothes stitched for a wedding and asked them to get her a pair of matching sandals but is no more existing in the world to wear them.
The 40-year old mother of Asifa says all her belongings except few things are all given away, Indian Express reported.
The family who migrates from their village as a part of bi-annual migration is currently in Kishanpur, off the Jammu-Srinagar highway, the mother sitting under a bridge just short of Manwal, on their way to Kargil, talks about what she did with her daughter’s possession.
“So I gave away most of her clothes. The rest I locked up in a trunk and left behind,” she says with a lump in her throat recalling her grief. The trunk is now kept in their home in Kathua village.
She recalls how her daughter loved the summer trip and Kargil of all places in the journey was her favorite. She is travelling with her two brothers, a sister, one of her two sons and their 40 horses while Asifa’s father left a couple of weeks earlier with their other livestock and is currently in Sansar.
Just 24 km uphill from Udhampur, passing few Muslim hotels and Vaishno dhabas in the region, sitting under one of the railway bridges, the mother recalls, “If there was one place she would not want to leave, it was the meadows near there. It was also a place her beloved horses could run about free.”
Pointing at one of the horses strolling in the open area, who Asfiya named as ‘Sundar’ says “She would climb onto a smaller horse to get onto it.”
She says the family never let Asifa know she was not their own child and was adopted from her mother’s sister. After losing her three own kids in a bus accident, the mother now constantly worries for her two other children studying in Class 11 and class 6.
She says one of her kid has stayed behind to attend school. “He goes to school in the village but leaves for Samba at night, to stay with our relatives. It’s not safe in the village Kathua,” were her daughter died while Asifa herself had to wait for few more years to pass by since she was way “too mischievous.” “Humne socha thodi aur sayaani ho jaye to school bhejenge (We thought let her become a bit more mature).”
The chargesheet of the crime says the little girl was repeatedly raped multiple times inside a temple during her seven days of captivation, starved, sedated and was also hit with a stone on the head to make sure she was finally dead.
“Her skin seemed burnt as if she had been electrocuted. I could feel her broken ribs and will never forget the blood stains on her head, where they had hit her,” says the teary mother, and with a lump in her throat while saying the word ‘rape’, she asks, “Kaise kar sakte hain aisa chhoti si bachchi ke saath (How can they do this to a little girl)?”
Scaring her soul and heart, the mother recalls her daughter’s memories two to three days before Asifa had gone missing from her house. The mother breaks into tears, and says she was playing in the kitchen with the flour in her hands and her brother clicked that picture of her smiling, teasing the little girl saying ‘When our mother is not around, our sister is old enough to take care of us’.”
Maybe she wasn’t meant to be mother to a girl, the 40-year-old adds, her face crumbling into tears again. “I lost one earlier and now again. She had taken away the pain of losing my first daughter and now I am living that pain twice over… I can never think of raising a girl again, I could not keep them safe. Now, if my sons survive, that would be enough,” she says morning over loosing her kids.
“They did not let us bury her in our graveyard. We had to take her 7 km away… We left in fear, leaving everything behind. They threatened us and said our homes will be razed and there would be nothing to return to. I only hope they don’t do that to her grave,” she says what their villagers did to the little girl even when she passed away from the world alone in pain and horror.