TW: Mentions rape, graphic violence
Protesters across the country came out on the streets demanding justice in the recent Hathras case in Uttar Pradesh.
On the one hand, it is hard to believe that a 19-year-old woman belonging to the Dalit community was allegedly raped by four men belonging to the Thakur community. But on the other hand, political leaders are trying to politicise the issue and use it to get into the limelight. But is this scenario new in our country?
For a moment, think of the young woman, who was strapped to a hospital bed—strangled with her own duppatta, her tongue cut and her poor family running from hospital to hospital, police station to police station seeking justice. This was completely ignored, overlooked and forgotten until the news of late-night cremation of this young woman by the UP police against the will of her parents made rounds in the news and social media.
The behaviour of the Uttar Pradesh Police has been the most brazen. The lawyers and senior IPS (Indian Police Service) officers say that “no rape took place” and very viciously circulate forensic report stating that the victim died due to the “injury to the cervical spine by blunt force trauma”. If indeed the claim that “no rape took place” holds any truth, further investigation should be done quickly and with dignity.
The victim’s brother, who is a frontline worker employed at a pathology lab, said many things in his interview; some from rage and some from sorrow. But the most striking part was his response to one of the renowned journalists, Barkha Dutt, on being asked how did the family survive the medical and police trial over the last fortnight.
Sandeep replied softly, “My sister was raped on September 14, she was still determined and strong to fight back and said, take me home—her last words because, by the early morning of September 22, she died. Perhaps, only after her death, anyone bothered to give us attention. Till now, we were invisible to the media and police.”
Therefore, now it will be difficult to believe what the UP police has to say about this case. This case might be used by politicians for political mileage as well. UP tops the list of crimes against women and girls in the country. About 18% of all the reported rape cases in UP are that of Dalit women. Hence, the state’s response to sexual violence is critical. It’s a shame that the UP police have instead tried to cover them up.
If politicians continue turning such massive tragedies into opportunities, the future of our country is dark. Soon, this headline will fade away, and we all will move on till the next grisly incident wakes us up.