These days the news of rape is annoying us. Every now and then, we are hearing rapes, mostly gang-rapes happening here and there as if it was very normal.
We are turning into a rape culture of sorts in which rape is no more a deviant act to be repulsed by everybody alike.
Lately, a new tendency of politicizing it has become the order of the day so much so that we are comparing rapes in number during this government viz-a-viz previous.
It is about the mere quantity, not about the sheer inhumanity of the act.
Moreover, the worst sort of politicization happens when it is given a religious angle – how many Hindu girls are being raped by Muslim accused or how many Muslim girls are being raped by Hindu accused.
Take the inhuman acts of Asifa rape case of Kashmir (a Muslim girl gang-raped by Hindu accused) and Dhing rape case (a Hindu child raped by Muslim accused).
In both cases, there was a tendency of polarization by some vested interest.
The state of Assam was free from such atrocities against women for most part earlier, but now-a-days, the State is gradually becoming infamous for such heinous crime.
Just a few years back, a rape case would have claimed headlines on the newspapers of the State.
No more are those days. Now, almost like the national newspapers, news of a brutal rape would only find a mention in some second or third page.
This means that we are getting used to a culture of in which rape is as normal as theft or burglary.
I am more appalled at the vicious design of certain irresponsible media houses in victim-shaming than responsible reporting.
Similarly, an unfortunate politicization has not left a heinous crime like rape out of its purview.
A few weeks back ,I went to Golakganj Circle of Dhubri District for a certain work and I found, to my utter shock that, a group of people comprising leaders of several organizations like Viswa Hindu Parishad, Vajrang Dal, Hanuman Sena etc complaining the Circle Officer about a rape that happened nearby.
Apparently, there was a communal tone in their voice just because the girl happened to be Hindu while the accused a Muslim.
I was shocked because had it been a few years back, they would have never thought of colouring it with religious paints.
May be, this is a spillover affect of North Indian tendency of communalization of rape which has charged the atmosphere.
While the vested groups have their own interest and justification, is this all fair to communalize rape?
My answer is ‘No’.
Because, it diverts our attention from the real issue .The individual act of rape gets mired in the gamut of communal frenzy.
This would aggravate the atmosphere. Perhaps, someday a girl would become vulnerable only because of her religion and the rapist would be defended on the same line.
Is this a crime to be seen through the lens of religion or politics?
As a civil society, we must ask this question.
Politicians should also comment responsibly. As a citizenry, we are becoming numb but our conscience is shaken to the core. We are deeply pained.
A rape is a heinous crime against humanity and strictest punishment should be given without politicization.
Mokhjumi Ahmed is a post-graduate student of Sociology in Gauhati University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org