WASHINGTON: The United Nations should conduct an investigation into the rape and killing of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) by supporters of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and make accountable those guilty of this heinous crime, speakers demanded at a rally outside the White House held this weekend.
Asifa Bano was killed in January in a Hindu temple in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, but the incident hit the limelight last month when police booked Hindu men, including police officials, who have since been protected by sitting state ministers belonging to ruling Bharatia Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Modi.
Asifa was abducted, drugged, gang raped and finally murdered simply because she was a Muslim in the so-called largest democracy of India.
Speakers at the rally said that killers used the rape as a weapon of terror and fear to force not only Asifa but her whole community out of the city of Kahua. The participants at the rally wavied placards and chanting “Justice for Asifa”; “No Justice No Peace” “Kathua Rape: Stain on Indian Democracy” “Wake Up Wake Up: UN Wake Up,”
Addressing the rally, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum thanked Antonia Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, who strongly condemned the gang rape and murder of Asifa as a “horrific” incident. She has also demanded that those who are guilty of this crime need to be brought to justice.
Fai called upon the Secretary General as the custodian of human rights to send the clear message to the Government of India that such brutality and cruelty cannot be tolerated in the comity of nations in this day and age.
He demanded that the investigation of Asifa’s case has to be impartial, and has to be done by a neutral agency like the United Nations and those found guilty need to be kept accountable.
Professor Imtiaz Khan, President, Kashmiri American Council said that Asifa’s case was not an isolated incident as more than 10,000 innocent women have been victims of heinous crimes in the held valley. He said all these cases need to be reopened and investigated by an international neutral agency.
Dr. Khan cited the example of Kanun Poshpora where more than 100 women between the ages of 7 to 70 were gang raped in 1991. It was reported by the New York Times, Amnesty International and other NGO’s, yet no investigation has taken place until today.
Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir said that the murder of Asifa should be an eye opener for the world powers that their silence has given sense of immunity to the Indian army as well as to the ruling party BJP.
Sawar Khan called upon the US Administration to play an active role in bringing the governments of India and Pakistan to the negotiating table along with the leadership of the people of Kashmir so that a durable and lasting solution is found to the 70 years old conflict of Kashmir.
Several other Kashmiri leaders and speakers in their remarks highlighted the ongoing atrocities in Kashmir and condemned the world silence that has encouraged the Indian government to continue to unleash a reign of terror on innocent Kashmiri people.
Those who spoke included Dr. Zafar Noori, Dr. Zulfiqar Kazmi, Director, Common Ground USA, Dr. M. A. Dhar, Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan, Ms. Shamshad Begum, Hamid Malik, Khalid Faheem, Sardar Zahid Khan, Dr. A. R. Meer, Sardar Zubair Khan, Hisham Khan, Sardar Zarif Khan and Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan.