Dear Mehbooba Mufti, You Failed Us: A Jammu Citizen’s Open Letter on the Hindutva Rally in Jammu in Defense of A Rapist

Madam Chief Minister,

It pains me to write this letter to you. Of late, I have become insecure and scared with the fact that you are my chief minister as you have failed us just like the successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir. I am writing to you today to bring to your kind attention that you have let us down on various occasions. Be it Human rights violations in the valley or Jammu Chambers of Commerce’s call to identify and Kill Rohingyas or the rally by Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua, you have failed to act.

Though I understand you are helpless because of your political alliance but just think is it right for you as the Chief Minister to not take action against people who are killing people and supporting and protecting rapists. Your one tweet or statement cannot change things. Rallies of such kind are alarming and send wrong message to people. India has already suffered enough in the name of mob mentality, but your silence makes you equally responsible for any harm that may happen in future because once these hooligans know they have a free hand, they won’t be afraid from killing people.

This rally reflects a worrisome pattern of planned communal violence that could happen in the region. We haven’t yet recovered from the horrific incidents of Kishtwar and Jammu 1989 Hindu Sikh riots. I lost a family member in 1989 and we don’t want this madness again. People of Jammu are living in harmony and enjoy good relationship with each other. But rallies such as this are first step in planning of the communal violence and the recent example of Kasganj, where the first rally was taken out on 15th August 2017 and communities were attacked on 26th January 2018, is an example of how things can blow out of proportion.

As a law abiding citizen, I want to know how did they get permissions in first place? And if they did not have permissions why did police allow them? Why aren’t these people immediately detained? We have lost an 8 year old child and rallies such as these are intimidating and a case of abetment must be filed against everybody participating in it.

I hope you will understand Asifa was someone’s ladli. Successive governments have failed to deliver justice to victims of Kunan poshpora, please show some courage this time and take stern action against those supporting the rapists and protect the family of Asifa. If you stay quiet today, you will discourage thousands of women who wish to report against sexual violence. And if the perpetrators go free, history will never forgive you.

It is my humble request to you to offer reparation to the family of the victim and take stern action against those who are trying to protect a rapist. It is the duty of the court to decide whether the accused is innocent or has been framed. Your job as the elected representative of the people is to bring peace and harmony to your state and make sure each citizen feels safe and protected under your leadership. I urge you to please take action now and send a strong message so that the situation can be controlled and it doesn’t turn into something that we all regret in future.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir is from Jammu and Human rights activist based in Delhi.