The politicisation of rape

Rape has become a ‘weapon of war’, but not in the way it is being alleged

The timing was just too good — it is the Muslim holy month, jihadis are marginalised, a beleaguered Indian minister was visiting the state, ahead of the Prime Minister, and American VIP’s in the vicinity. What better than an allegation of ‘rape’ against Indian soldiers to capture popular imagination to exemply India’s ‘repressive’ rule in Kashmir? It is not difficult to be cynical about these allegations — not after an allegation of rape in India’s north-eastern state of Manipur demonstrated the political potency of this four letter word.

Aasiya Andrabi, the shrill leader of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Ummah), an all-woman terrorist organisation has taken the opportunity to point out that India is using ‘rape as a war weapon’. Surely, then, an examination of Daughter Aasiya’s own record on using women as a war weapon is in order:

“I oppose traditional Kashmiri culture. We want to return our women to Islamic culture.” [Kashmir Herald]

About a decade after the Dukhtaran-e-Millat’s campaign to force Kashmiri women to wear the hijab failed to modifying their apparel, the ‘cat- and-mouse game’ was on again in the predominantly Muslim Valley in the summer of 2001….A hitherto unknown outfit, the Lashkar-e-Jabbar, or the Army of the Omnipotent (Allah), claimed responsibility for spraying acid on two ‘neem barahnah (half naked)’ women in central Srinagar. One of the victims, a coppersmith’s daughter, later treated in a hospital in Indore, lost one of her eyes. Aasiya does not approve of throwing acid on those who defy the diktat and…she claimed and promised that she would ‘never ever even think of disfiguring a woman, no matter how serious the cause.’

Asked why then would the Dukhtaran throw paint on women for defying its purdah diktat, Aasiya claimed that the substance was non-toxic. ‘In fact, before using it on others, we tried it on ourselves to ensure it did not cause any harm,’ she said. []

She told her father that she would marry only a mujahid. Her father married her to Mohammad Qasim, a member of militant organisation Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen.

The DeM chief is of the view that only jihad (holy war) can protect the Islamic faith. That’s why she wants her two sons to emulate Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammad Omar, not a doctor or engineer. She has told her husband that he should take two or three more wives, given the large number of Kashmiri women widowed by the insurgency in Kashmir. “I would be more than glad to share my house with the other wives of Qasim”, she says. That way, between them, Qasim’s wives would have a lot of children to be raised in the image of Osama and Omar. [Milli Gazette]

Does she support the killing of Indian police and soldiers? “Not only the police, but all the Indian politicians, too. We support that.” Does she back a call made by a Kashmiri militant group for the assassination of India’s prime minister? “We’d be very happy, inshallah ..” [Kashmir Herald]

So in Daughter Aasiya’s book, it is quite alright to maim women, kill soldiers and politicians, and even to inculcate al-Qaeda’s wholesome values in children. Not quite the best person to speak for Kashmiri women then.

Its hard for the Indian army to win this one, whatever is the actual truth. It must go to the extreme to investigate this case, and if there is any truth to the allegations, punish the errants. It may yet do what is expected of it. But it is quite unlikely that the media will discharge the soldiers honourably in the event they are found to be victims of weapons of mass distortion.

Update: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced that this incident wont come in the way of his visit to Kashmir next week. That is exactly the right thing for him to do.

1 thought on “The politicisation of rape”

  1. Anyone care to remember Benazir bhutto attending some UN conference on women in beijing with the shrill war-cry that Indian troops were wantonly using rape as a weapon of war against women in kashmir….

    To reassuage the public, the process of justice delivery must be transparent and confidence-inspiring…BUT(always one, ain’t there?) given the demonstrated propensity of shameless puke groups like duhrat-e-millat et al to abuse the horrors of rape using wanton allegations, we oughtta give confidence to our troops as well of shielding from undue media harassment.

    Gosh, my sentences hv gotten so long, i lose the thread of thought many a times.

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