When will ASIFA have justice?
ASIA / INDIA - Muslim girl raped: "Churches must support women in the fight for justice"
New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - “What happened to Asifa Bano is inhuman. The case proves once again how sensitive the issue of violence against women and girls is in India and also shows that there is religious tension between Hindus and Muslims, ”said Protestant Bishop Joseph D'Souza, Primate of the Church of Good shepherd in India. The case of the Muslim girl Asifa Bano shakes the nation and creates further religious and political tensions. The child's body was found on January 17, 2018 in a forest near Kathua in Kashmir, India. According to the investigators, the child was raped and then strangled. Asifa is one of the many rape victims in India: over 100 women and girls are raped there every day. The girl belongs to the Muslim nomadic people of the Bakarwals, who mainly live in northern India. The eight suspects who were convicted of the crime on the basis of DNA tests and eyewitness reports are all Hindus. Hindu nationalist groups meanwhile try to avoid a trial against the accused. Leaders of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocate leaving the case to the central investigation bureau, which is under the government and is therefore in the hands of the BJP.
"It is time for India to face the problem of violence against women," said Bishop D'Souza. "Religious fundamentalism is often directed against women, India is becoming polarized, giving way to all kinds of religious fundamentalism. Women are the most vulnerable victims, "said the bishop.
The bishop invites Indian women to launch their own #MeToo campaign to address the issue of sexual abuse of women. "Indian women must play a leading role in this struggle for civilization and for rights in Indian society," he says. In the Christian churches too, he emphasizes, "gender equality must be promoted: Christian churches in India must do everything possible to support women in their struggle for justice and equal opportunities."
(PN) (Fides 19/4/2018)
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