She was punched in the stomach, hit with sticks, her head banged against the wall - all of this, carrying an eight-month-old foetus in her stomach. Savitri Devi's crime? - She lost balance and touched the bucket of an 'upper caste' woman.
The incident reported by The Indian Express happened on October 15, when an eight-month pregnant Savitri Devi was collecting garbage from homes in Khetalpur Bhansoli village in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. At one of the houses, a rickshaw caused her to lose balance and touch a bucket belonging to Anju, an upper caste Thakur woman.
On seeing this, Anju stormed towards Savitri and reportedly attacked her. Savitri's neighbour Kusuma Devi who has claimed to have witnessed the attack said that Anju punched a pregnant Savitri repeatedly in the stomach and banged her head on a wall. "She kept accusing Savitri of defiling her bucket by touching it. Later, Anju’s son Rohit also joined in and beat her with sticks,” said Kusuma.
Six days after the brutal attack, both Savitri and her unborn child died with the post-mortem report stating “antemortem head injury” as the cause of death.
Savitri's husband Dilip Kumar, a daily wage earner, recalling the painful incidents leading to his wife's death said that after the attack he took Savitri to the district hospital. They refused to see her as there was no external bleeding. However, after returning home Savitri complained of severe headache and stomach pain. Six days later, on October 21 her condition worsened and she fainted. By the time she was taken to the hospital, Savitri was already dead.
Dilip said that shortly after the attack on his wife on October 15, he went to the house of Anju to question her but the family abused and threatened him. Finally, on October 18, Dilip filed a complaint at the Kotwali (rural) police station. A medico-legal test was ordered but since there were no wounds police didn't file a case initially.
"Later, on October 20, when we visited the village and spoke to the eyewitnesses, we realised that Savitri was assaulted by Anju and her son and so, registered a FIR under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).” Tapeshwar Sagar, SHO, Kotwali (rural) police station was quoted as saying to The Indian Express.
After the death of Savitri, IPC sections 304 A (death by negligence), 316 (causing the death of the unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide) and provisions of SC/ST Act have been added to the FIR against Anju and her son Rohit.
Anju's 24-year-old daughter Jyoti, however, feels that they are being framed. She said to The Indian Express “My mother had loaned the bucket to a neighbour. When she came out of the house on the morning of October 15, she saw Savitri holding it and lost her cool. She thought Savitri was stealing it. There was a fight but no one beat her up. We are being framed.”
Police have tried to arrest both Anju and her son but they have been on the run since October 18.