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Indian media stoke religious tension over brutal murder instead of focusing on femicide

The murder and dismemberment of a 26-year-old woman in India in May and the recent arrest of her boyfriend has gripped the nation and media. But instead of focusing on the issue of femicide, a journalist and an activist say that Indian media is using the fact that the victim was Hindu and her alleged killer was Muslim to further polarise the nation. FRANCE 24 correspondents Léa Delfolie, Anida Saifi and Navodita Kumari report.

Shraddha Walkar was allegedly killed by her live-in boyfriend, who then allegedly cut her body into 35 pieces and discarded them across New Delhi. The boyfriend was arrested on November 12.

Journalist Somya Lakhani is shocked at the insensitivity of Indian media covering the case: Rather than sparking a public debate on domestic violence, the horrific murder has taken a political turn because Walkar was a Hindu and her boyfriend is a Muslim.

“The theatrics around this case by the media are appalling and at the same time I think they are just belittling of the woman who has died,” Lakhani said. “It is a gender crime at the end of the day. I mean you may want to see it otherwise to suit our agendas, but it is a gender crime.”

Rights activists say the case is being used to target the Muslim community.

Talking about domestic violence remains taboo in India, but 30-year-old Mubeena, who did not give her last name, agreed to speak to FRANCE 24. Four years ago, her parents married her off to a man they chose. Soon after, her husband began to mentally and physically torture her.

Mubeena was later rescued by her mother.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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