Protests are being held across the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India after news broke of the rape of a three-year-old girl.
On social media channels, the hashtag #JusticeForAimanZehra went viral, with people expressing disgust and horror at the crime and demanding justice. While media reports provided different number for the age of the accused, Tahir Ashraf Mir, protests erupted after he submitted documents to prove he is underage. Underage convicts are tried in India’s juvenile courts and handed lenient sentences.
Sharing pictures from protests being organised, tweep @muftifatoomi wrote: “The 27-year-old man who raped three-year-old Aiman has provided officials with a fake birth certificate, allowing him to be tried as a minor and avoid major punishment. Kashmiri civilians are flooding the streets in protest, despite the government shutdown. #JusticeForAimanZehra”
This is 3 year old Aiman. She is a young Kashmiri girl who was raped to the point where she was spitting blood by a 27 year old man, yet NOTHING has been done by local authorities. We demand justice for this little girl, & hundreds of other victims unheard. #JusticeForAimanZehra pic.twitter.com/Gw3QijQ5Kd— – (@muftifatoomi) May 13, 2019
The 27 year old man who raped 3 year old Aiman has provided officials with a fake birth certificate, allowing him to be trialed as a minor & avoid major punishment. Kashmiri civilians are flooding the streets in protest, despite the government shutdown.#JusticeForAimanZehra pic.twitter.com/iN9y9c0rGD— – (@muftifatoomi) May 13, 2019
A disturbing video of the girl, spitting blood and shaking in pain was also shared by several social media users. However, many social media users urged tweeps to not share the child’s picture or video.
Tweep @Priyyaa_x wrote: “A three-year-old girl raped by a 27-year-old man? I’m disgusted. Can these monsters not control their sexual desires? 3 YEARS OLD. That’s a child. She was coughing blood. She had bruised eyes. That’s a traumatic experience that will stay with her forever.#JusticeForAimanZehra”
Many social media users also expressed anger at victim shaming that happens after rape cases, or excuses that are provided to protect perpetrators of such crimes.
Tweep @syedsamreen21 wrote: “Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone RAPED them. I’m talking about ‘women’, but today, on my land, it’s about a little innocent child. #JusticeForAimanZehra”
Another Twitter user @shigra_ wrote: “3 year olds? 6 month olds? 8 year olds? How many more till your conscience awakens? Rapists should be stoned to death by the public openly. Type ‘hashtag(#) justice’ and see for yourself how many poor souls still yearn for justice.”
Just saw video of this 3 yo girl crying in pain unaware of the fact what has happened to her.— In'Sha (@In_Sha__) May 11, 2019
My dear people of Kashmir let us unite and demand justice for Aiman Zehra.
Today it is #AimanZehra tomorrow it can be one of us.#JusticeforAimanZehra pic.twitter.com/QCnumU4jQ6
I can't even imagine what was going through this childs mind when her dignity was being taken away. And the reaction of religious scholars and political parties is ZERO towards this. Women and children aren't safe under Indian judiciary and defence. #justiceforAimanZehra— sharaf.🌻 (@sheikhsharaff) May 11, 2019
Rapes happen and will continue to happen as long as the perpetrators of such crimes aren't punished. There'll be social media outrage and protests but at the end of the day it's the flawed justice system which won't deliver justice. #JusticeForAimanZehra— انظر حبیب وانی (@anzar_wani) May 11, 2019
It is the month of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness and peace. This was not supposed to happen. How many more flowers will they destroy? 💔#JusticeForAimanZehra— Zainab. (@zainab_shabir12) May 11, 2019
Mir provided a letter from the Islamic Educational Trust, Jammu and Kashmir, which stated his date of birth making him 19 years old.
Tweep @mehdizafar wrote: “Social media is flooded with posts about a despicable crime committed by a 20-year-old man against a three-year-old girl in Kashmir. And here a self-proclaimed religious organisation is trying to shield the culprit by showing him as minor. Shame! JusticeForAimanZehra”