It is very difficult for me to even attempt writing a letter to you dear child. How do I ask you if you have been well? Is the other world treating you better in death than this world could treat you when you were alive? Asifa, my innocent child, can I tell you how sorry I am, how ashamed I am that we failed you as a society. I see your gorgeous almond-shaped eyes, eyes full of dreams, eyes that have an own story to tell of hope and expectation from the world you live in… these eyes torment me, they remind me of how collectively we as a nation failed to help these eyes continue to reflect the happiness they exuded. I am shocked that the brutality, barbarity, and depravity of those that perpetrated the heinous crime is a sickening reality of my nation.
I would have hoped that those accused of this crime would face the severest punishment they deserve, but I am shocked more at the insensitive environment that pervades my country today, I am appalled that there are those in power who think standing in support of the accused is the right thing to do and that one can get away with barbarity. I hang my head in shame little one. Your father says you didn’t know left from right forget knowing what it meant being a Hindu or a Muslim, but Asifa, this is a frightening reality for the nation we have become today.
I always believed that no lawmaker or those entrusted to maintain it could ever be involved in a crime so evil, I was to be proved wrong. I have read the charge sheet filed in court, (did I tell you just how difficult it was to do that? as yet again humanity showed its most evil side), wondered what was going on in the mind of the 15 year old school dropout who abducted, raped and strangulated you before bludgeoning your face with a stone, did he feel any remorse? He did this at the behest of his uncle Sanji Ram who incited him to abduct you as revenge for the Bakarwals. If this isn’t a display of the sickening depravity of the crime then what is? The uncle’s son who studied in Meerut also joined the rest and was even asked to return, “in case he wanted to satisfy his lust.” How does one come to terms with the fact that even a police officer was involved, it depresses me as I read that he wanted to rape you one more time before you were killed?
I don’t have enough words Asifa to say sorry to you, and I can’t say it enough. I can’t fathom just how anyone could have come forward to support those who are perpetrators of this crime that too with our nation’s tricolor with them? I am sickened to the stomach to tell you that there are some, including ministers, who did. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that your family was forced to carry your tiny little body to another village to ensure you got a decent burial. How do I come to terms with the fact that your family has been forced to flee from Kathua? We have failed you not once but multiple times.
Asifa, your eyes haunt me, as it would in the mind of every right-thinking individual whose conscience isn’t dead yet. This isn’t the India I grew up in, and it is not the India I would want to leave behind for my children. But can I tell you Asifa that it is heartening for me to see that there are many fellow Indians who seek justice for you? What we could not do for your in life, hope we would do for you in death, it is hardly a consolation. However, it is a commitment to the children of this country.