An Indian woman – belonging to the so-called lower rung of the country’s caste system was raped by four men belonging to the ‘upper cast’ – has died, erupting public outcry across the nation.
The 20-years-old Dalit woman from the Hathras village of Uttar Pradesh was gang-raped and tortured for two weeks after she eventually succumbed while undergoing treatment on Tuesday at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
Her body reportedly arrived at her home-village past midnight in an ambulance. She suffered multiple fractures, paralysis, and a deep gash in her tongue, drawing parallels to the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case.
On the wee hours of Wednesday, the body of the rape victim was ‘forcibly’ cremated by the UP police, without the notice of the family, even after the family expressed to bring her body home.
“It appears that my sister has been cremated; the police are not telling us anything. We begged them to let us bring her body inside the house one last time, but they didn’t listen to us,” one of the woman’s brother told Indian Express newspaper on Wednesday.
According to the report, the victim’s body was cremated in an apparent hurry by the Uttar Pradesh police force, even after the victim’s brother who was present told the police that their father and another brother were yet to arrive from Delhi.
When the victim’s family went to intervene the police who were cremating the body in the middle of the night, there allegedly became aggressive. Fearing, the family locked themselves in.
The UP District Magistrate has, however, refuted the family’s statement to media that their daughter’s body was cremated without consent.
“The allegations that the funeral was conducted without the family’s consent are wrong. The father & brother gave their consent to conduct funeral at night. Family members were also present at funeral. Vehicle carrying victim’s body was present at village from 12:45 to 2:30am,” the Hathras DM told news agency ANI.
Soon after the death of the Dalit woman was announced, protest and outpour of grief erupted on social media. People from all walks of life poured their tribute to the latest ‘India’s daughter’ who lost her life to the gruesome crime.
Uttar Pradesh, known for its conservative, and far-right government led by the BJP MP Yogi Adityanath is notorious for being one of the world’s most unsafe places for women and the same in the nation.
The recent rape adds on to India’s routine incidents of violence and crimes against women, earning the great nation notoriety for being one of the most unsafe places for being women.
#ShameOnYogi, #YogiMustResign, #Hatras #ShameOnUPGovernment were trending on Twitter with Twitteratis questioning the attempts of the police to cremate the body as soon as possible and demanding the resignation of the UP Chief Minister.
Disturbing footage from social media shows a chaotic scene when the victim’s body reached Hathras on the wee hours of Wednesday, and the family was arguing with the police to allow them to take the body home.
The victim’s mother can be seen helplessly weeping to the police after the cremation.
“Could this happen if the family was not Dalit?,” Yogendra Yadav tweeted, adding even criminals are allowed dignified cremation, he said speaking about the forced cremation. “This is a matter of national shame. Our own George Floyd moment.”
On Tuesday, hundreds of protestors gathered in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital where the Dalit woman breathed her last. Dalit rights activists chanted slogans near the hospitals and demanded strict action.
Similar protests erupted in Hathras where Congress workers and members of the Valmiki community blocked the roads and pelted stones at the hundreds of police deployed to pacify the outcry, CNN partner News18 reported.
Ironically, in a nation where the largest religious majority prays to mostly woman deities records one rape every fifteen minutes on an average, a government data from 2018 says, released this year.
Meanwhile, CM Yogi Adityanath said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the strictest of actions to be taken on the gang-rape culprits. He has reportedly formed a three-member SIT to investigate and report in 7-days, ANI news agency reported.
The four criminals who belong to the ‘upper-cast’ are in jail tortured the woman as the worst nightmare could go. Charges of rape and murder will be pressed on them.