ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why We Will Forget Kathua, and Why We Should Not

Does Kathua have a place in the larger narrative of our national identity?

How does an atrocity endure in public memory? When we think about Kathua, where a group of men—including a policeman—abducted, raped, brutalised and murdered an eight-year-old girl, one would think that it would be burned into public memory as a moment commemorating our utter failure as a society. The perpetrators were communally motivated against a mere child, whom they reduced to an embodiment of two kinds of otherness—that of being tribal and being Muslim. And, then, as if the offences were not grave enough, as if to fulfil the invocation of tragedy as farce, the Hindu Ekta Manch took out a march to defend the perpetrators.

Consequently, the events leading up to and following the crime raised some uncomfortable questions about the kind of nation and the kind of society we are heading towards. For those who read the police charge sheet that detailed the chillingly barbaric acts, the readily available visual of the girl’s earnest face added a texture to the story which ensured that the magnitude of what had happened would not be lost to abstraction. Indeed, so ubiquitous was the girl’s face that it could be seen on streets across the country, and of course on social media. Her face became a symbol around which the demand for justice galvanised.

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Updated On : 22nd Oct, 2018
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