Dhaka, 28 April, Abnews: The brutal gang-rape, torture and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua triggered a nationwide outrage, earlier this month. When the chargesheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police became public, the gruesome details of how she was held captive in a temple for days, drugged and raped numerous times emerged. According to the chargesheet, one of the accused was called all the way from Meerut to rape her and "satisfy his lust".
The unimaginable horrors experienced by the little girl sent shockwaves across Bollywood as well, and many celebrities took to social media to share pictures of themselves holding placards demanding justice.
Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Swara Bhasker also joined the silent protest and shared pictures of themselves holding placards which read, "I am Hindustan. I am Ashamed. #JusticeForOurChild. 8 years old. Gangraped. Murdered. In 'Devi'-sthaan temple."
Of course, this attracted the attention of trolls, who slammed the actresses for their "selective outrage", which they claimed only comes to the fore when the victim is a Muslim. One Twitter user called them "big time hypocrites who are sad on rape of Muslims but enjoy rape of Hindus".
Columnist Shefali Vaidya urged all Hindus with "any self respect or dignity" to not watch any film starring "placard wala B grade actresses" like Sonam, Kareena and Swara. That the accused were Hindus made their outrage all the more problematic for Shefali, who declared, "It was not justice they were seeking, it was a vilification of all Hindus!" Soon, the hashtag #BoycottVeereDiWedding began trending.
Here's why this is problematic - it is a horrible attempt to communalise a barbaric crime against a powerless, innocent child. It was the sheer brutality of the crime that moved Sonam, Kareena and Swara and NOT the religion of the victim and the accused.
Many alleged that while the actresses condemned the rape of a Muslim girl, there was a deafening silence when it came to Hindu rape victims. This could not be farther from the truth. Let us rewind a few years to the heinous gang-rape of Nirbhaya, which was unanimously condemned by all, including Sonam, Kareena and Swara.
"Every time I talk about it, I get teary-eyed. It becomes very difficult for me to talk about it. Doing something like this to any woman, man or animal is deplorable," Sonam had said.
Expressing shock and sadness, Kareena had said that the justice system needs to be swifter.
Swara, on her part, denounced the perpetrators and led a week-long cultural campaign on the one-year anniversary of the case.
The communal card was not played by Sonam, Kareena and Swara; it was groups like the Hindu Ekta Manch which did so, by holding rallies in favour of the accused. According to a report in Rising Kashmir, the leader of the outfit said, "We don't want our men to be framed. If such things continue, people will come out on the roads."
In another shameful act, the victim's kin was not allowed to bury her in the local graveyard. Her father told the Asia Times that "some baton-wielding goons" threatened them with violence and they were forced to bury her in another village.
The horrific incident is being used to further communal polarisation and make it into an issue of "us" and "them". "Nobody from Bollywood would dare to take the name of cleric or the masjid," wrote a Twitter user, referring to the incident of a 10-year-old girl who was raped in a madrassa.
Incidentally, Swara shared the article on her Twitter account and condemned it unequivocally. Calling it "shameful and horrifying", she wrote, "Another sacred place desecrated. This time a madrasa! No respect for God or his book. SHAME! Horror."
Of course, trolls chose to turn a blind eye and though she pinned the tweet to her profile yesterday, trolls continue to maintain that she and her Veere Di Wedding co-star are guilty of "selective empathy".
For a second, step back and think. Even if you were to boycott Veere Di Wedding which stars the "anti-Hindu" Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Swara Bhasker, will that stop rapes in India? – India Today