A week ago, I wrote a post about 8-year-old Asifa Bano, who was raped, tortured, and killed in a Hindu temple in Kathua, India by three men who reportedly hate the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal group that Asifa belonged to.
Unbelievably enough, rather than unite India, the case has divided the country and worsened tensions between Hindus and Muslims. That’s because after the suspects were apprehended and identified as Hindus, millions of their fellow believers, egged on by nationalists, began to protest that real Hindus don’t rape, that rapes in temples are literally impossible, and that their side had somehow been wronged.
The unrest hasn’t died down. Now Amazon India is catching flak after hiring Swara Bhasker, a Hindu actress whom the nationalists improbably accuse of “abusing Hindus” and of “anti-national” hatred — because she spoke out against the crime.
Amazon India has found itself in a soup for associating with Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker whose recent comments on the Kathua rape earned her the title of “anti-Hindu.” Always known to [speak] her mind, she was one of the actors who took to social media to express her rage over the Kathua case.
Joining the #JusticeForOurChild campaign, Swara posted a photograph of herself holding a placard that read: “I am Hindustan. I am ashamed. #Justice for Aasifa. 8 years old! Gangraped! Murdered!! In ‘Devi’-sthan temple!!! #Kathua.”
What followed was a barrage of comments from hatemongers who called out against her for her ‘anti-Hindu’ comments.
The hullabaloo and hate campaign has seen an unlikely casualty — Amazon India [which had] signed up Swara for a promotional campaign. Swara tweeted an endorsement post for Amazon [the tweet had nothing to do with the case of the little girl] and the company retweeted it.
It’s hard to see how that could be controversial, but soon, Hindu protesters took to social media to organize a boycott of Amazon. In an act of corporate cowardice, the e-tailer, caught between a rock and a hard place, deleted its retweet.
That Asifa’s horrible death has become the subject of ongoing sectarian strife says a lot about religion and tribalism… but nothing good.