Another Indian Dalit daughter of India is raped and murdered
The Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO) which is an umbrella body of various human rights and civil rights organizations and activists works to be in solidarity with the common people against the high handedness of the authorities especially the police and ignorance of law.
NCHRO which subscribes to the ideals of justice and human rights is shocked and grieved by the gang rape of a 19-year woman from Hathra in Uttar Pradesh. We condemn the act in the strongest terms. Equally, we express dismay against the failure of the PM and CM of Uttar Pradesh to issue a strong statement and initiate pertinent action. Upper castes are now emboldened and act with immunity fully convinced that the ruling dispensation will do nothing to punish them. It is as if Dalit lives do not matter. Worse, Upper caste men eager to abuse and violate young women are licensed and protected from retribution. Nor will the courts take suo moto action. Conscience and application of law is discarded. In times when rapists and murderers are rewarded seats in Assemblies, in Parliament and even high places in government, justice has been pushed to the back seat. Hathra’s rape case is conclusive evidence that in India Dalit Lives do not matter. It was a crime that took place in a village in Uttar Pradesh where untouchability is still the norm. She died on September 29 and was cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police even as her family pleaded that they be allowed to take her body home.
The rape and murder of the 19 -year old Dalit woman from Hathra in Uttar Pradesh, only 200 kilometers from the Indian capital, New Delhi suggests that India lives in a heavily guarded patriarchal fortress. A gang of four so-called ‘upper caste’ men, took on the role of barbarians raped the woman. They then dragged the victim with her own ‘dupatta’ tied around her neck, her tongue teeth gashed, broke her spinal cord and several bones in her body, and viciously strangled her. Medical treatment in a Delhi hospital was too late and too little. The girl died after medical treatment failed to revive her.
India is at constant when it comes to violence against women. Under the BJP, Dalits, Tribals, OBCs, and religious minorities have suffered multiple forms of cruelty, women in particular. From Nirbaya-to-Hyderabad-to-Hathra nothing has changed in caste-stratified Indian society. Law enforcement is complicit. So are people in high places whose lack of courage and conviction allows such crimes to be erased off the records.
Hathra is a millionth example of how patriarch and caste fuse to inflict brutality against the vulnerable women who are designated as lower social categories. The spewing of women in acts of cruelty based on hatred will one day come to haunt the murderers and rapists. Violence of this nature has a shelf life and some day there will resistance. To exist is to resist and civil society must rise up to condemn and do all that is possible to bring the culprits to book.
If the Upper caste intent is to crush the aspirations of the oppressed communities, this intent must be contested in peaceful but firming and unrelenting non-violent resistance. Progressive political forces must be lobbied and the Home Minister must answer for this crime. The UP Chief Minister who runs a ‘goonda’ Raj must be asked to step down.
NCHRO will create a National level Monitoring group that provides tangible support to victims of Dalit atrocities. It will take particular notice of crimes against Dalit women by upper caste criminals and bring the victimizers in the courts of law without fear or favour until justice is achieved. In the Hathri case, we will ask why the SC/ST Act was not invoked when the family went to the police station. It is not sufficient to only disgrace the perpetrators. Such men are not easily shamed. Speedy justice is the call.
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the Prime Minister must adopt a humble stance and ask for the pardon of the family, and all women who have been similarly punished. They must then act to bring caste entitlement to a grinding halt.
NCHRO will campaign to create awareness on all forms of caste atrocities, especially against women. NCHRO will lobby for justice in specific cases and join to fight the case against the perpetrators of the Hathri rape and murder. If we do not intervene with a National Alliance against violence that combines caste and patriarchy, these crimes will continue in perpetuity.
Ranjan Solomon Iftiyaz Sayed
Prescient General Secretary