Thousands of protesters gathered on the Parliament Street in India's capital to denounce the rape and killing of the 8-year-old Muslim girl in India's northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The news of the rape of Asifa Bano has sparked nationwide protests, as thousands of people took to streets to denounce the heinous act, demanding the government take action and bring the culprits to justice.
Bano was abducted and brutally gang-raped for three consecutive days by two to three men from the dominant Hindu sect, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, in January.
Bano, who belonged to a family of nomadic shepherds of the Bakharwal community, went missing on Jan. 10 from Rasana village, some 72km east of Jammu city. According to her family, she had gone to the forest to graze some horses. The horses returned, but she didn't. Several days later, her body crumpled and smeared in blood, was found in the same forest.
Unnamed sources told local media, the perpetrators wanted to drive out Bano's Bakharwal nomadic community from the Hindu-dominated region of Kathua.
At first, the news of the brutal gangrape was kept hidden by the police and the perpetrators, but months later, when it became public, Hindu nationalists took to the streets defending the perpetrators.
After Bano's death, her family wasn't allowed to bury her in the same village. Her family took the victim's mutilated body to another village, some 7 miles away. The family was forced to flee the village.
Two state cabinet ministers have resigned following the incident. On Tuesday, favoring the Hindu sect "rapists and murderers," the Jammu Bar Association called a strike to protest the state police’s "mishandling" of the case's investigation.
The mob of lawyers had earlier obstructed the police officers from entering the courthouse to file the necessary paperwork of the rape case.
Nearly 40 lawyers were charged Monday with the criminal offense of trying to obstruct the police from filing the necessary paperwork for the court proceedings.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led separatist Hurriyat Conference Thursday accused the state administration and police of being "mute spectators."
Activists have raised nearly US$48,000 to help Bano's family pay for private lawyers' expenses.
"The charge sheet filed in the case has revealed some chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped before being killed. While the state government says it will not allow the law to be obstructed, her family has little hope that justice will be delivered in the case. They have even left the village. The fact that lawyers in Jammu tried to prevent the Crime Branch from filing a charge sheet in the case has only raised more concerns," the fundraiser statement added.
Shehla Rashid, a New Delhi-based scholar and activist tweeted, Thursday:
"We've reached our 30-day target of raising 10 Lakh rupees for Asifa's family in 24 hours. We've also reached our additional target of 10 Lakh rupees for Unnao survivor - now an orphan - in less than 24 hrs. Final amount raised will be divided equally among both families."