Indian Diaspora Joins Protest Over Kathua, Unnao Rape Cases
Members of the Indian community in the United Kingdom, United States and UAE demand justice in the Kathua and Unnao rape cases.
While countrywide protests were held in India against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases on April 15, the Indian diaspora also raised its voice against the crimes that have sent ripples of anger all across.
In the United Kingdom, 19 students and alumni groups wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking tough measures against the accused in the rape cases. The move comes ahead of Modi’s address at his “Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath” event in London on April 18, agencies reported.
“We, the Indian students and alumni community in the UK, are deeply horrified and demand immediate proceedings against the accused in both cases (Kathua and Unnao). By taking swift and strict actions, please show that the Indian government’s initial silence and delayed response to these horrific crimes against humanity are not a support of the accused because the accused have some or the other link with those in power,” the group letter says.
“Prime Minister, you have not shied away from taking difficult decisions in the past, such as with demonetization. Please take similar extraordinary steps to prove that India’s daughters matter,” it added.
The letter stated that Indian students and alumni community have been “eagerly looking forward to” his United Kingdom visit this week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. It further stated that “by the time you arrive you have sufficiently addressed both these matters,” and that “when you arrive and address ‘Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath’, you can tell us and the world that those extraordinary measures are that you are putting into place to show that enough is enough.”
The signatories of the letter include the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK , India societies of the University of Oxford; London School of Economics; University College London; Imperial College London; University of Warwick; Kings College London; University of Manchester; University of Birmingham; University of Southampton; Birmingham City University; University of Arts London; University of Salford; University of Nottingham; St George’s University; University of Warwick India Forum; Nottingham Trent Indian Society and Queen Mary Indian Society.
Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates, over 150 members of the Indian community gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Sharjah Indian Association grounds on April 14 to demand justice for the 8-year-old rape victim from Kathua, Jammu. “After the horrific Nirbhaya rape, this is the second case that has left the nation in shock,” Sharjah Indian Association (IAS) president YA Rahim was quoted by the Khaleej Times as saying. “India has made a name for itself in 70 years since our independence…. This is the first time we collectively hang our heads in shame because we failed the girls of our country. Justice needs to be swift. We must protect the girls.”
The protest was attended by members of the Indian Association Sharjah, and Overseas Indian Cultural Society, which is an organization with allegiance to the Congress, India’s main Opposition party.
The members of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Center in Dubai released statements demanding justice. “The victim, in this case, is an eight-year-old child. Irrespective of the religion, political affiliation, caste or creed, such a terrible crime should never take place ever again,” Anwar Naha, the president of the organisation, told Khaleej Times.
The Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group based in the United States, also released a statement on their Facebook page demanding a speedy trial and maximum punishment for the perpetrators in the gang rape and murder of the 8-year-old victim in Jammu in January, as well as the rape of a 17-year-old Dalit girl at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
These incidents also drew sharp responses from the United Nations and Amnesty International, which called the obstruction of justice in these cases “disgraceful.”