#JusticeForAsifa: UAE expats join cry for justice for 8-year-old rape victim
The Indian community in the UAE has joined the cry for justice for the gang-rape victim of an eight-year-old girl child in Jammu Kashmir, that sparked outrage across India. The rape-murder of the Indian girl from the nomadic Bakarwal community has hogged the headlines in the international media.
Members from various Indian communities in Dubai and Sharjah got together late Saturday to organise a candlelight vigil in memory of the girl, Asifa Banu, who was abducted from Kathua's Rasana village and found dead after two days in early January.
Over 150 members of the Indian community gathered for the candlelight vigil on the Sharjah Indian Association grounds on Saturday at 8pm, as part of the 'Justice for Asifa' movement in India.
They included members of Indian Association Sharjah and senior members of the Overseas Indian Cultural Society, also known as INCAS, an organisation with allegiance to the main Indian opposition party, Indian National Congress.
Members of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) in Dubai also released statements demanding swift action against the perpetrators of 'this heinous act'.
"The victim, in this case, is an eight-year-old child. Irrespective of the religion, political affiliation, caste or creed, such a terrible crime should never take place ever again," Anwar Naha, president of KMCC, told Khaleej Times.
Meanwhile, YA Rahim, Sharjah Indian Association (IAS) president said: "After the horrific Abhaya rape, this is the second case that has left the nation in shock. India has made a name for itself in 70 years since our independence.... This is the first time we collectively hang our heads in shame because we failed the girls of our country. Justice needs to be swift. We must protect the girls."
The gory crime, and the events in its wake evoked sharp reactions from international human rights organisations, including the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Biju Soman, general secretary of IAS, said: "The mass participation of people for the event in Sharjah is witness to the fact that Indian expatriates too are very angry. It has been reiterated time, and again, the safety of our girls is a top priority and whichever ruling party is in power."
After the vigil, Mahadevan Vazhasseri, president of INCAS UAE central committee said: "The culprits must be punished, and the case should be tried in a court without appeal. Conventional means of justice should not be used in this case."
Several Indian students have also voiced their concerns over the ongoing issue. Safa Naser (23), a student of Al Ghurair University, said: "Girls are routinely raped in the country. Law must strictly punish rapists. the rules are what need to change. Children in India deserve the same kind of safety that their counterparts here in the UAE enjoy. No child deserves to go through what Asifa did..."