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Lynched, raped, left for dead: Dalits, women remain easy targets for criminals in UP

A 19-year-old Dalit girl was gang-raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras; a farmer was beheaded in Badaun

While politicians, and activists across the political divide have begun to raise their voices to draw the attention of Uttar Pradesh chief minister to the growing instances of heinous crimes, the state government’s plan of action is yet to be known. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable continue to be victimised in the state. The most recent report is of an incident of sexual assault. This time the victim is a 19-year-old girl, who belonged to the Dalit community. She was reportedly allegedly gang-raped by four “upper-caste” men in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.

The teenager is reported to be still admitted in a hospital, where she was in the ICU even several days after she was attacked on September 14. The accused tried to strangle and kill the girl after they raped her. According to news reports, she is stable now and Police recorded her statement on Tuesday The teenager told the police that she had gone to gather fodder for her animals, when the men sexually assaulted her.

According to reports two accused have been arrested, the police had acted on the complaint lodged by the survivor’s brother, and had earlier registered a case against a man, identified as Sandeep, for attempt to murder and under sections of the SC/ST Act, stated media reports. After recording the survivor’s statement on Tuesday, the police added charges of gang-rape to the FIR. The police have so far arrested two of the four accused and are attempting to nab others, according to a report by The Times of India.

Meanwhile Congress leader Shyoraj Jivan Valmiki met the survivor’s family on Wednesday and demanded that action be taken against the police for the delay in recording the survivor’s statement., Deepak Kumar, the vice president of the UP Congress Committee, alleged that the accused and the local police were threatening the family members of the survivor.

The media also also recorded another incident, where two unidentified men, wearing masks, barged into a 45-year-old woman’s house in Kanpur district’s Bidhnu area on Tuesday night and raped her. On hearing noise, the affected woman’s son woke up and the accused fled. Police have registered a case and efforts are on to establish the identities of the culprits, the SHO Pushpraj Singh said, adding that some people have been detained in this connection.

On Wednesday,  Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad had alleged that violence, and atrocities against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh are on the rise. He also posted on social media highlighting two such criminal attacks on Dalit leaders in UP, and alleged that the criminals were fearless as if they had official “government protection”. Azad listed the the attack on Dalit leader Suresh Pracheta was allegedly shot at by miscreants, in Jaunpur. This follows closely after the assassination of Dalit leader Satyamev Jayate in Azamgarh, he stated.

Azad has alleged that while the Dalit community is being targetted this way the states Adityanath-led government was busy hosting meeting to plan a ‘film city’.

The Jaunpur police were quick to respond to Azad’s tweet about the attack and said the victim’s acquaintances stated that he was allegedly shot at in a temple compound, and the assailant was unidentified because he was wearing a helmet. However, according to police, a medical examination later revealed that it did “not look like a gunshot injury” but could be an injury caused after being hit by a blunt weapon. The police said the group did not immediately inform the police.

To say ‘another shocking incident’ by now seems trite. This is perhaps the most inhuman crime reported. According to a newsreport in DNA, a Dalit farmer was beheaded in Uttar Pradesh because he refused to share water for irrigation with another farmer. The accused has been arrested by the police. The victim, 56-year-old farmer Nathu Lal Jatav was watering his field late on Monday, in Badaun’s Din Nagar Sheikhpur village, when he was asked by another farmer, Roop Kishore, to divert water to his field. When Jatav refused, he was attacked with a spade, and beheaded by the angry farmer, stated the news report. Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddharth Verma was quoted in the news report stating that an FIR has been lodged against Roop Kishore, who “has been booked for murder and under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at the Bilsi police station. He was absconding, but we have tracked him down and arrested him. Further investigations are underway to find out if more people were involved.”

The list of heinous crimes against Dalits, and women in Uttar Pradesh, the question on what the state government is doing to give justice, and prevent atrocities, however, still await answers.

This post was last modified on September 25, 2020 4:45 pm

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