NEW DELHI: Highlighting the ‘systemic failure’ of government apparatus, Dalit and women rights organisations condemned the Uttar Pradesh Police for cremating the Hathras gang-rape victim in the dead of night without allowing the family to have a last glimpse of the girl at their home. While there was outrage on the virtual world with hashtags such as ‘HathrasHorrorShocksIndia’ and #HathrasCase trending, celebrities and activists came out to support the demand of Dalit rights groups that the government should immediately uphold the rights of Dalit women and minors.
The victim’s brother has claimed that the police forcibly took the body and his father for cremation as soon as they reached Hathras. National Dalit Movement for Justice and the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch said India yet again failed to protect the Dalit women. “The level of brutality and inhumanity continues even after the demise of the victim, as the UP police forcibly cremated the body in the early morning,” said a joint statement from the organisations.
“A large part of society still needs to be informed about the steep rise in the brutality against Dalit women and minors amid the pandemic.” Beena Pallical of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights termed the incident as a ‘systemic failure’. “Even in her death, the state did not give her any dignity. This is an example of the systemic failure of the state which is complicit with the police, and of state appratus being hand in glove with the dominant caste,” she asserted.
Slamming the UP government, All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “Treat the secret midnight cremation of the victim’s body without the presence of her parents and family as a caste atrocity. Demand that the CM resign for this atrocity on his watch.” Krishnan wrote.
While advocate senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy pointed out why caste matters in such cases, writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar expressed outrage and said. “The UP police cremated the body of the rape victim of Hathras in the night without the permission or even the presence of the family. It leaves us with a question. What makes them confident that they will get away with this audacity. Who has given them this assurance?” Akhtar posted.
UP govt, police get NHRC notice
The NHRC has issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state’s police chief in connection with the gang rape of a 19-year-old Dalit women in Hathras district, officials said on Wednesday. The woman, who was battling for her life after the assault, died at Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognisance in connection with the “gang rape and brutality of a 19-year-old women belonging to the Scheduled Caste in Hathras district”, the rights panel said.