The gruesome murder of Arifa in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir literally shook the entire valley, with people all cross the valley taking to streets and demanding stringent punishment to the perpetrator of the crime.
This case, which could be said to be a copycat murder, is pretty similar to the Shraddha Walker case that rocked the Indian capital in 2022 when the killer of Shraddha Walker proceeded to chop up Walker’s corpse and discarded the body parts across a nearby forest area.
Shabir – The killer of Arifa from Budgam also had tried to dispose off her body parts at various places after allegedly chopping her body into pieces by using a tile cutter.
This obviously is not for the first time that a woman in Kashmir had to go through all this brutality and savagery, but the cases of the same nature have started making their ‘normal’ place in our society now.
How it started in the first place?
1. Normalizing the harrasment of women: Our society’s hypocritical reaction to the harrassment of a woman, be it online or offline, everytime she speaks out about the harrasment she is met with, is something which has already taken a heavy toll and has been the reason of countless suicides among such women.
Whenever she speaks about any physical or online harassment, instead of supporting her, men start blaming her for the ordeal. You will never come across a single post on any social media platform where you will see a man being called out for what he has done to a woman.
In a very recent case of a video leak, in which a man and a woman were seen in a compromising position, people all across the internet started blaming the woman and ironically suggested their fellow social media users not to share the video anymore, just because a man who according to them fell into the trap of a woman would be defamed.
In one more case, a female employee and a social media influencer was called out for talking to the parents of her harasser and making a video of it. Unfortunately, our society was much concerned about the lost respect of the boy (the bully) than what that female employee had to go through. She was literally abused for being so rude to her abuser.
2. Targetting women for every bad thing in the society.
From religious scholars to women haters, from vlogger’s to so called influencers, women are the centre of discussion whenever anything untoward happens in our society.
“Agar che badlakh zamaane badleha” [If you (women) will change youself, the times will change, the society will change for good] – is the sentence framed by an unknown kashmiri writer to demean the existence of women and to hold her responsible for the grave delinquencies of men.
Our men have unfortunately learned to justify their wrongdoings with the women, they have very much acclamatized themselves by receiving a huge support from the men folk when it comes to justifying harrasment, bullying and in the worst cases, even rape.
3. The Taunts
She is herself responsible for the rape, she is herself responsible for the harrasment, if she was groped in the public transport, she should not have left her home in the first place. Wearing tight clothes may have prompted the man to go for rape. She is not meant to be in an office, where men work in tandem with her, bla bla bla…..
Her every reaction to any kind of harrasment is countered with such taunts, and fearing this barrage of questions she choses to remain silent and this silence paves a way for people like Shabir to use a tile cutter to chop her body into pieces and reduced every conscious citizen to a mere spectator who can do nothing at the end of it except lighting a candle in her memory.
Umran Hussain is a microbiologist and a blogger.