The body of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who was gang-raped in Hathras, UP and later died in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, was cremated on Wednesday by UP police while the family was allegedly forcefully kept away from the last rites of their daughter. Protests broke out in several parts of the country, with political leaders and activists blaming the unlawful governance of the UP CM Yogi Adityanath, against the horrific acts against women of the state and the forceful activities of the police.
The gang-rape incidental said
On September 14, the young woman was missing from the fields, and was later found, beaten and tortured, with her tongue cut as she bit it, while the accused tried to strangle her. She was rushed to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital of the Aligarh Muslim University, but when her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi on Monday, September 28. She succumbed to her injuries on September 29, Tuesday. Two weeks after the rape incident, her death caught the attention of media and the country, and plea has been moved in the Supreme Court to hand over the case to CBI or a Special Investigation Team. It also demanded the transfer of the case from UP to Delhi for trial.
Attitude of the UP government
After facing major backlash over his silence, CM Yogi Adityanath formed a SIT for investigation in the matter, and also talked to the father of the 19-year-old woman on Wednesday. Additional chief secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said, “The CM has spoken to the father of the deceased woman of Hathras. Her father … asked for harshest penalty against the accused. The CM assured him that the most stringent action shall be taken against the accused and all possible help shall be provided to the family of the deceased.” The SIT comprises Chairman Secretary Home Bhagwan Swaroop and Chandraprakash, Deputy Inspector General of Police and Poonam, Commander in chief, Provincial Armed Constabulary.
A midnight cremation that triggered the nation
The approach of UP police in this case has gathered much criticism with allegations of selective treatment because the accused are from upper caste. While the postmortem report neither confirms nor denies the presence of semen in her body, the UP police hurried and cremated her body, without allowing her parents to attend the last rites. The parents had also requested to follow the Hindu rituals and only cremate her between sunrise and sunset, but the local police conducted the last rites in the dead of the night.
This forceful action has triggered several politicians, activists and influential people, other than the Indian mass. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav blamed the UP government for having such hasty action as an attempt to “destroy evidence.” The Delhi Commission for Women wrote to the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde to urge the Supreme Court to take suo moto cognisance of the rape and murder of a dalit woman.
Congress, Bhim Army, AAP take to the streets to protest
Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad, Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, along with party members and activists called for immediate action against this inhuman act. A protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar got major public attention with prominent leaders and ministers attending it. While Congress leaders, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi were on their way to meet the victim’s family on October 2, they were manhandled by the UP Police and also lathi-charged.
The opposition across the country has blamed the UP government for running a ‘jungle raj’ in their state where neither women nor any opposition is safe. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi attempted to reach the victim’s family again on October 3 and had to face a vast police deployment on the Delhi-Noida DND Expressway, after being allowed to meet the victim’s family with three more members. Section 144 has been implemented in major parts of UP and Delhi.
A unique protest in Uttar Pradesh as well
Another protest in Uttar Pradesh has started which is protecting the alleged rapists, by other people belonging to the same caste. They are citing an unfair treatment towards the upper caste by the Dalits, for involving their name in a rape case like this. The protest has not been stopped by any police deployment or Section 144.
The Policy Times against the vile rape case
- The delayed approach of the UP government towards a rape case that happened almost 15 days ago is a proof enough of the situation of the administration.
- Had it been a non-BJP state, the media channels would have been demanding a resignation of the chief minister, but now, the broadcast media is only trying to create a diversion by talking of politics, instead of demanding justice for the women.
- Within a few days of this social outrage, more rape cases from UP are surfacing, hanging the country’s head in shame. Now is the time that we bring major legislative changes to punish the rapists as soon as possible.
- One cannot ignore the caste of the rapists as they raped a Dalit woman, proclaiming the caste division in the country and the protestors in their support and only affirming that no matter where India reaches, caste-based violence is a reality of the society that is utterly anti-constitutional.