Otherwise immune to happenings in mainland India, the valley youth on Monday hit the streets over the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, in a rare solidarity.
But the protest was also organised to “remind” the country’s civil society about the atrocities faced by women during the past two decades in the valley.
“We are saddened by what happened to the woman in Delhi. We seek justice through fast track court for the victim,” said Kashmir Youth Brigade activist Zeeshan Ahmad.
Ahmad along with other students assembled at Srinagar’s Press Enclave area to register their protest and express anger over the turn of events in the wake of the gang rape of the woman in a bus.
The protest, however, had one more dimension: to question the silence of civil society over the alleged rape victims of Kashmir.
“Kashmir has witnessed mass rapes like one in Kunan Poshpora in early nineties, then Handwara and Shopian in 2009. We did not see the angry youth bulge over these issues. Why this double standard by Indian civil society?” asked Ahmad.
In south Kashmir’s Shopian district, 65 km away from Srinagar, there was a similar protest to express sympathy with the rape victim.
The protest was organised by the Shopian Majlis Mashawrat, a body of the locals that is fighting for the justice in the Shopian double rape and murder case of Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan, which took place in 2009.
The issue sparked street protests for 40 days in the valley, which resulted in deaths of young protesters.
“We are hopeful the Delhi gang rape victim will get justice as the culprits are already behind the bars. As far as the case of Asia and Neelofer is concerned, the state is directly involved, the hope of justice is bleak,” said Mohammad Shafi Khan, spokesman of the body.
Khan once again rejected the CBI probe, which described the death as simple case of drowning, and called it “a cover up to save the culprits”.
Neelofar’s husband Shakeel Ahanger said he can feel the pain of the Delhi rape victim. “I am with the victim and her parents but, at the same time, I appeal to the Indian civil society to support our demand to probe the double rape and murder case by some international agency.”
On Sunday, Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani demanded an Islamic way to execute the Delhi rape accused by stoning them to death.
“It is a shameful and painful act done with our daughter,” said Geelani.
He, however, accused the civil society of double standards. “When a rape takes place in Delhi, the whole India protest against it. The same people never raised voice over gang rapes in Kashmir at the hands of security forces,” said 83-year-old Geelani.
He alleged that the culprits involved in the rape cases of Kunan Poshpora ,Chanpora, Jigerpora and the Shopian double murder and rape cases were let free.