People in India are joining widespread protests because of a rape epidemic which one prominent figure describes as a “national emergency.”
The brutal rape and murder of a little girl in Kashmir has inspired celebrities, business people, sports figures, and social activists to join rallies demanding that something be done to prevent more young Indian girls from suffering the same horrific fate.
8-year old Asifa Bano, a Muslim nomad girl was lured into a forest where she was drugged and then taken to a Hindu temple in Kathua, Kashmir where she was held captive for four days.
Police say Asifa was repeatedly gang-raped, strangled, and her head was crushed with a stone. Her bloodied body was found in a forest.
Eight suspects were arrested—two of them police officers.
Officials say her rape and murder were part of a sinister plot by militant Hindus to drive nomadic Muslims from Rasana village. Others say it is indicative of a much bigger problem in India where the culture considers women and lower castes females as less valuable than men.
“I’m embarrassed, ashamed the culture of rape has only increased and violence against women has only increased in recent years,” said Joseph D’Souza, President of the All India Christian Council.
D’Souza said while Indians are now focused on the case of little Asifa which occurred last January, the rape of several other young girls in India in recent weeks have also captured the public’s attention and disgust.
The Voice of America reports Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi maintains that 100,000 rape and sexual abuse cases against children are now pending in Indian courts. Kailash called it a “national emergency.”
“Each time a daughter is raped and killed, India’s soul is raped and killed,” Kailash said.
D’Souza told CBN News he blames cultural attitudes for the increase in cases of rape and sexual violence against females.
“There is a fundamental problem in the mindset of the Indian male population…it goes across castes and religious background. The value attached to a woman is second to the value attached to a man,” he explained.
D’Souza said inequality and discrimination are rampant throughout Indian society and that is why the country has “every form of abuse that women face.”