On September 29, 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit girl died. She had been battling for her life for two weeks after she was brutally gangraped and left to die in the Hathras district of UP. To make things worse, the police hurriedly burnt her body in the dead of the night, not even allowing the members of the family to honour their daughter’s last rites. The victim, now deceased, while struggling for life in the hospital for two weeks, repeatedly made allegations about the gangrape against four upper-caste men.
The details of the incident have since been discussed, debated, outraged about and even called fake by some. The victim, in her “dying declaration”, recorded on September 22, 2020, that she had been allegedly raped and assaulted by four men, whom she named as well. Yet, after her death on September 29, 2020, the police declared that she had not been raped.
The forensic report cited by the police was later discredited by doctors, but by then, the baton of discrediting the rape victim’s account of the incident has been passed on to the media. As expected, the lapdogs jumped to this disgusting task outsourced to them by their masters.
Indian media has never been exemplary in its coverage of rape crimes. India is the most dangerous country in the world for a woman, and more so, for a Dalit woman. This situation has only become worse by the apathy of the media towards the existence of such systemic oppression against women. Add Dalit or tribal to it, and it’s the exact signal for the media to ignore the story and move on.
Republic Bharat, one of the highest-rated TRP channel in India, tried to prove that the dead victim of Hathras gangrape was a liar. Relaxing in his chair, Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-chief of Republic Bharat, pronounced the entire incident as a Manohar Kahani. This is obnoxious even by Arnab’s standards.
Not to be left behind, Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News insinuated that the girl was in a relationship with one of the accused. This wasn’t even the first time that Mr Chaudhary has participated in this vilest form of victim-blaming. He was last seen defending the rape accused in the Kathua gang-rape case.
These two cases pointed out above are just the vilest examples of how mainstream Indian media degrades specific genders, castes and communities. The complete apathy of media towards incidents of rape and their insensitive coverage, the utter lack of any conversation even bordering around the caste angle in gendered violence, etc are only too visible.