On Remembrance and Forgetting- January 2018: Kathua Tragedy. January 2019: A Forgotten History

On Remembrance and Forgetting- January 2018: Kathua Tragedy. January 2019: A Forgotten History
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By Muzamil Bashir

January 2018: A tragedy shook the conscience of Jammu and Kashmir and the world. A tender 8 year old girl was strangled before she could bloom. She was raped and tormented by a cluster of predators. Condemnations and sympathies erupted from every corner. The intellectuals and civil societies screamed for justice to the tender soul. The powerful ones supported the beasts that shattered the dreams of an innocent girl. Media used this brutal episode to boost the TRP of their channels. Support and follow up was assured at every level to the family to bring the perpetrators to justice.
January 2019: It is a forgotten tragedy. A disaster buried under the burden of acquisitive commitments. The conscience of the people has brushed this brutal crime aside. The narrative changed from sympathetic to the materialistic. The barbarous tragedy that had hit the headlines of the media across the world including the New York Times evaporated from the minds of people. Yesterday it was a brutal tragedy, today it is a history. A forgotten history crushed under the pages of injustice. The highest level of brutality distorted into an apparatus of political vendetta. The empathetic words erupted without any pragmatic action. The victims became the victims of broken system. The slogan “Justice for the victim” which was displayed expansively and dynamically at the time of tragedy remains unfulfilled after a year. The slogan died a swift death. The posters in support of the girl victim became the object of decoration in the front glasses of the cars. The condemnation and sympathy brigade vanished.
We, as a society, have failed to struggle for justice of a flower whose innocence was beleaguered. We have forgotten a chapter that broke the dreams and hopes of a family. We deserve unlimited ignominy. We have failed the ethical system of a civilized society. Her family has been inflicted with an unending pain and their souls bruised. They can never forget the tragedy that shattered their lives forever.
Justice continues to elude the annihilated family. Injustice continues to rule the system controlled by the mighty monsters. Years pass and we are suffering from a short term memory loss. We forgot the brutal tragedies. We forget to refurbish our social fabric that stands devastated to the highest level. The little one rests in her grave waiting for a breeze of justice. That is what should shake our consciousness deeply to instill a fresh wave of realistic support for her. A couplet from Mirza Ghalib reflects the condition of our society:
‘’Umar bhar ‘Ghalib’ yahi Bhool karta Raha,
Dhool Chehre pe Thi, aur aina saaf karta raha’’
‘’The whole life man made this mistake”,
“The dust was on his face and he was cleaning the mirror’’

—The author works with the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), Baramulla and writes on diverse issues. She can be reached at: FH.Muzamil@gmail.com