TW: Mentions of rape, murder, caste-based atrocities
3 minor Dalit girls were found tied up in their family’s fields in Unnao, with 2 of the 3, aged 16 and 17 declared dead on arrival when they were taken to the hospital. The third, aged 17 remains in critical condition.
There is a lack of confidence in Ajay Singh Bisht’s police to conduct a fair and impartial investigation.
The UP Police dismiss it as a case of poisoning, stating that there were no signs of struggle or injury found prima facie. The brother of the girls stated that they left to collect grass, and were found with their hands and feet tied.
There are several claims and videos on the internet showing the UP police barricading the victim’s family as a means to silence them, similar to the case in Hathras. Previously in Unnao, BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar was protected from rape charges and the survivor was burnt alive in 2019.
Updates as of now are scant, with the remaining survivor fighting for her life in a Kanpur hospital. Many groups and activists have demanded that her treatment and post-mortem be done in AIIMS Delhi, as well as an independent inquiry be launched on the deaths and grievous injury to avoid any tampering of evidence by the UP Police and Yogi government.
The Hathras gangrape saw national outrage, but five months after the event, the situation for the victim’s family is bad, and the hope for justice is slim. According to a report by Newslaundry, the family is under constant 24/7 protection/surveillance by the CRPF because of the threat that the Upper Caste poses, who were also rallying in favour of the perpetrators.
Ajay Singh Bisht, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh also stated that the case would be moved to a fast-track court, this has also not been done in the last 5 months. 3 of the 4 accused have already applied for bail, which was denied. You can find the full report below:
Uttar Pradesh has seen a constant increase in crimes against scheduled castes, with the latest National Crime Records Bureau data showing an increase of 7.6%. Only 9% of these cases have been charged with the SC/ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act.
India as a country has not taken one step towards liberating Dalits, Adivasis, and OBCS, with statistics, the nature of the Indian state, and the behaviour towards SCs/STs/OBCs still showing how the Savarna Hindu attempts to dominate the lower caste through societal and state machinery.
In the case of Uttar Pradesh, 44% of the seats in the Vidhan Sabha are held by Upper castes, the highest since 1980. SC representation has reduced significantly while OBC representation has not increased. There is also an increased representation of the Thakur Upper Caste, of which Ajay Singh Bisht is one.
Only 9 out of 75 district chiefs, 1 out of 18 range chiefs, and one out of 8 zonal heads in the Uttar Pradesh Police force belong to SC communities. Research has shown a direct correlation of representation of minorities with the amount of effort put into impartial investigations of cases of crimes against minorities, a fact which is practically visible in the UP Police’s conduct in the Hathras and the Unnao case.
Dalit women in India are often the worst affected, with the intersection of caste and patriarchal violence that is predominant in India. According to the National Family Health Survey, 33.2% of Dalit women experience physical violence by the age of 15. In 2018, 2957 Dalit women were raped across the country, 871 of the victims were minors at the time of the incident.
This corresponds to 8 Dalit women being subjected to sexual assault every day in India, with the real number perhaps even higher as many cases are not reported due to fear of retaliation from Upper-castes, police inaction, and bias of all state machinery.
The denial of justice to Dalits is a part of Indian history, with 1000s upon 1000s of incidents and massacres still unpunished by the Indian state and the savarna machinery. Two incidents from opposing parts of India that draw attention to this are the Kilvenmani massacre in 1968 and Bathani Tola in 1996.
In Kilvenmani, 44 striking Dalit labourers, mostly old people, women, and children were burnt alive in a hut by UC landlords. Children who were thrown out of the burning building were thrown back in by the Savarna killers. Similar to Hathras in 2020, political leaders of CPi(M), journalists, and protesters were not allowed into the village after the event, and the cremations of the bodies were done under heavy police protection so that the families couldn’t access the bodies.
The attackers went to the local police station, demanding protection which they got, and initially, the victims themselves were blamed. In the subsequent trials, the landlords who had organised it only got 10 years of jail and were later acquitted. Cases were filed against the victims and members from the Dalit community were only acquitted in 1995.
In Bathani Tola, 21 Dalit labourers were massacred by the Ranvir Sena, an Upper Caste militia in the state who then carried forward several other massacres. The Ranvir Sena had support from the Bihar Police, and BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi, C.P Thakur, and former PM Chandra Shekhar were all sympathizers. All the accused were acquitted
Speaking in the 7th Anuradha Gandhy Memorial Lecture, Meena Kandasamy, author and activist, who has written about the Kilvenmani massacre in her book The Gypsy Goddess, gave a speech about how events like this have happened again and again after Kilvenmani, and how the state has always colluded with the accused to grant them protection.
#Update The family does not have money to treat the girl left alive in Unnao Case. The family is collecting funds and is treating the girl at Regency Hospital in Kanpur. Please contribute to proper medical treatment.
Link – https://t.co/nvVh1p1wqE
Google/phone Pay – 9993179062
— The Dalit Voice (@ambedkariteIND) February 17, 2021
Several activists report that the doctor who attended to the injured girl believes prima facie, that there appears to be brain damage. The family is collecting funds and they do not have the finances to treat the girl left alive in the Unnao case. You can contribute to proper medical treatment through this link or by Google/Phone Pay to 9993179062.