India

‘Her tongue was cut’: Protests erupt in India after ‘gang rape’ of Dalit woman by ‘upper caste’ Hindu men in UP’s Hathras

‘Amid protest by family and villagers, police forcefully burnt the body’

Two weeks after the murder of a young woman who was ‘gang-raped and tortured’ in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, the incident has triggered widespread protests across India.

On September, the 19-year-old woman was attacked while she was out cutting grass in Hathras. The attackers ‘pulled her into a field with her shawl, sexually assaulted her and tried to strangle her’.

Later, the woman was found by her family naked, bleeding and paralysed, her tongue cut and her spine broken.

She was taken to hospital in the city of Aligarh and this week she was transferred to a facility in Delhi, where she died from her injuries on Tuesday morning.

In this regard, four men have been arrested by the police so far.

The victim was a Dalit and the suspects lived next door to her family and were from a ‘higher caste’.

Earlier on September 29, Bhim Army, a party fighting for the rights of Dalits, along with its 300 supporters, gathered outside the hospital in Delhi demanding justice.

The family of the victim has said that the case was brought to the Police’s notice earlier; however, due to their ‘lower social status’, police did not take the case seriously until it gained traction in the media.

The police officials Hathras have denied such claims.

However, amid protest and demonstration by the villagers and family members, cremation of the body of the 19-year-old Dalit girl, was forcefully done in the early morning of Wednesday under heavy police cover.

The villagers along with the family members of the deceased girl were demanding the body to be taken to their house but the police did not allow it leading to the confrontation.

People across the spectrum incensed by the incident slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for its “inability to control heinous crimes” against women even after multiple initiatives.

Industrialists, actors and cricketers, apart from Dalit leaders Mayawati, Chandrashekhar Azad, as well as Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav condemned the incident.

However, a statement of the DM and SP of Hathras district said that the woman’s brother registered a complaint on September 14 but the gangrape came to light only after the woman’s testimony eight days later.

The statement said “the victim’s brother said Sandeep, an acquaintance, tried to strangulate his sister while she was working on the farm with her mother in the morning. Sandeep was arrested on September 19 following the complaint under various sections dealing with an attempt to murder and SC/ST Act. On September 22, when the woman was in a condition to give a statement, she said she was gang-raped, following which the charges were added and three other accused arrested. After the woman’s death, the attempt to murder was amended to murder.”

 

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