The death of the 20-year-old Dalit woman, who was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras district in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital was cremated by policemen in her village last night, while her family was locked up in their home.
News of her death after fighting for her life for two weeks led to protests outside the hospital on Tuesday, with the ‘Bhim Army’ of Chandrashekhar Azad “Raavan” blocking roads for hours and protesters chanting “hang the rapists”. The postmortem of the woman was conducted in the presence of police personnel, and the victim’s brothers alleged that her body was taken away by the police without their knowledge.
Meanwhile, on social media, there has been an outpouring of grief and anger from politicians, celebrities, and common men.
The woman’s body was brought to her village- Hathras in Uttar Pradesh in the late night, and the police put pressure on the woman’s family to cremate her body immediately, said the victim’s brother.
Victim's father said- "we were locked into the room and Police took away the body, they themselves did the ceremony without our presence.
— Youth Against Rape™ (@yaifoundations) September 30, 2020
When the family refused to do the same, the body was taken in an ambulance and cremated without letting the parents see her one last time.
However, a senior district administration official, denied the allegation, saying the family’s consent was taken.
A disturbing sequence of events captured in late-night visuals show the victims family arguing with cops, relatives throwing themselves on the hood of the ambulance that carried the body, and the woman’s mother weeping helplessly after the cremation.
ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE – Right behind me is the body of #HathrasCase victim burning. Police barricaded the family inside their home and burnt the body without letting anybody know. When we questioned the police, this is what they did. pic.twitter.com/0VgfQGjjfb
— Tanushree Pandey (@TanushreePande) September 29, 2020
Police formed a human chain to prevent the protesting crowds, the family, and the media from getting close to the cremation spot.
UP Police has claimed that Hathras victim was attacked and allegedly strangulated by four accused which caused damage to her nervous system and left her paralyzed.
Speaking to media, Hathras SP Vikrant Vir stated that no signs of sexual assault were found on the victim’s body by doctors, and reports of her tongue being cut were also false.
“No signs of sexual assault were confirmed by doctors in either Hathras or Aligarh. The matter will be probed by doctors through forensic help. No signs of abrasion were found on the victim’s private parts,” the Hathras SP said.
Reacting to the allegation for the delay in probe he said the woman’s family had complained of molestation and assault on September 14. She was shifted to Aligarh where she regained consciousness and gave a statement in which accused three more people and also alleged gangrape. Following this, an FIR was registered, and the accused were arrested.
The police officer also denied claims that the Hathras gangrape victim’s tongue was cut or that her backbone was shattered.
Her attackers are arrested, and a fast-track court is set up to begin hearing the case immediately. The Uttar Pradesh Government on Wednesday assured and constituted a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the Hathras gangrape case. CM Yogi Adhityanath said the SIT had been asked to submit its report within seven days.
Wednesday, late evening Yogi Adhityanath spoke to the Hathras victim’s father, wherein he requested CM for the harshest penalty against the accused.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath has spoken to the Hathras victim’s father, a short while ago. Her father asked for harshest penalty against the accused.
CM assured him that most stringent action shall be taken against the accused and all possible help shall be provided to the family. pic.twitter.com/HCQwhTHW1L
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) September 30, 2020
The horrendous incident has sparked anger across the nation, and activists demand explanation from police as to why they took the “inhumane decision.”
Meanwhile, Dalit activists have shut down the main market in Hathras and are demanding action against police officers and are agitated over how police handled the investigation.
Several opposition leaders have condemned the incident, calling it “shameful and unjust.”
Something Is not right:
The delay in the arrest of the accused, shifting the body of the woman without family’s consent from the hospital, statement of the police that there is no proof about the rape, heinous way of cremation all just points out to some hidden agenda behind the event.
Rape In India:
India has witnessed a rise in the number of sexual assault cases since the 2012 Delhi Nirbhaya attack.
In 2018, India’s average rape rate (per 1,00,000 population) was 5.2, the same as the previous year. However, the latest report by National Crime Records Bureau shows India recorded an average 87 rape cases every day in 2019 and 4,05,861 cases of crimes against women during the year — a rise of over seven per cent from 2018.
The “Crimes in India -2019” report shows that crimes against women went up by 7.3 per cent last year. The crime rate registered per lakh women population in India is 62.4 per cent in 2019, a rise from the 58.8 per cent figure of 2018.
The report shows that Assam records the highest rate of crimes against women at 117.8 per lakh population, while Uttar Pradesh also had the highest number of crimes against girl children under the POCSO Act with 7,444 cases.
Dalits are some of India’s most oppressed citizens because of an unforgiving Hindu caste hierarchy that condemns them to the bottom of the ladder. Despite laws that protect them, discrimination remains a daily reality for the Dalit population, thought to number around 200 million.