In a letter addressed to UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, over 30 South Asian Diaspora Groups, including Dalit and Feminist organisations, have made two key demands:
- Urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dismiss Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath
- Set up an international enquiry into the Hathras rape case and other rapes and crimes against women, particularly Dalit and oppressed caste women in UP since the Adityanath government came to power in the state.
The groups including CasteWatch UK, London Black Women’s Project, Million Women Rise and Dalit Solidarity Network UK, also received the backing of Members of Parliament John McDonnell, Apsana Begum, and Kim Johnson. The list of signatories has been growing and the letter now also has backers from countries including Australia, Oman and Canada.
The letter draws attention to the horrific crime and the local administration’s apathetic response saying, “Her spine was broken, paralysing all her limbs, her body grievously bruised and her tongue was brutally wounded.” They added, “The UP police, initially reluctant to register a case against the four accused, left her lying on the concrete floor of the police station and when she was eventually taken to a hospital she was left in a generic ward. Only after pressure built up, was she transferred to the ICU and later to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she passed away on 29th September.”
It then goes on to narrate how the police intimidated her family and hurriedly cremated her body in the middle of the night. It also brings to light three similar cases that took place in the state in the immediate aftermath of the forced cremation; those in Balrampur, Bhadoi and Azamgarh.
The full text of the letter and signatories may be viewed below:
To the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet
Dear Ms Bachelet
We are writing to you to express our deep sense of shock and dismay at the terrible events unfolding in Uttar Pradesh, India and to urge you to take action as outlined below.
On 14th September a 19-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped and assaulted with inhuman violence in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Her spine was broken, paralysing all her limbs, her body grievously bruised and her tongue was brutally wounded. The four men who had raped and assaulted her were oppressor caste Thakurs who dominated the village she lived in – a place which continues to practice ‘untouchability’. They had allegedly been ruthlessly harassing her for a considerable length of time, to the extent that she was afraid of leaving her home. But worse was to come. The UP police, initially reluctant to register a case against the four accused, left her lying on the concrete floor of the police station and when she was eventually taken to a hospital she was left in a generic ward. Only after pressure built up was she transferred to the ICU and later to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she passed away on 29th September.
But even this scale of cruelty was not enough for the police and administration of UP and the local government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath which gives them their orders. On the night of 30th September, they took away her dead body. Her mother’s pleas to be allowed one last look at her were ignored. Then, barricading her family in their house so they could not attend or perform funeral rites, the police forcibly and hurriedly cremated her body at 2:30 am to erase all evidence in the case.
Not isolated events
What is most shocking is that far from being an isolated crime, this is part of a systematic attack on women and oppressed castes. Three other sexual assaults and deaths of women and girls took place in UP hardly 24 hours after the Hathras victim’s remains had been consigned to flames by the UP police. In Balrampur a 22-year-old Dalit woman was raped and murdered. In Bhadohi, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was found dead, her face disfigured and head battered – rape is suspected – and in Azamgarh an 8-year-old girl was raped.
While attacks on Dalits and women have escalated vastly all over India since 2014, when the Hindu-supremacist Modi regime with its entrenched Casteist and misogynist ideology came to power, the Adityanath government in UP has seen by far the largest number of attacks and atrocities.
For example, in 2019, India reported 4,05,861 cases of crimes against women with Uttar Pradesh topping the list with 59,853 such incidents, according to India’s annual National Crime Record Bureau’s “Crime in India” 2019 report. As for the atrocities against Dalits and other oppressed castes, they too have escalated vastly and oppressor castes have been allowed to act with total impunity. For example, according to the National Crime Record Bureau figures, in 2016, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of atrocities against Dalits – 26% of all cases reported.
We are deeply concerned about where this is leading India and more specifically the state of Uttar Pradesh.
We hope you are able to take action:
Urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dismiss Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Set up an international enquiry into the Hathras rape case and other rapes and crimes against women, particularly Dalit and oppressed caste women in UP since the Adityanath government came to power in the state.
Satpal Muman, Chair, CasteWatch UK
Sarbjit Johal, South Asia Solidarity Group
Daljit Gill, National Valmiki Sabha, NRI UK
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside
Anjum Mouj, Chair, London Black Women’s Project
Ananya Wilson Bhattacharya, Red Pepper
Sabrina Qureshi, Million Women Rise
Mohammed Sagheer, Chair, Strive UK
Baljit Banga, Director, Imkaan
Meena Varma, Dalit Solidarity Network-UK
Dharam Paul Nahar, Bhagwan Balmiki Trust, UK
Meril Eshun-Parker, Director, London Black Women’s Project
Zlakha Ahmed, Director, Apna Haq, Rotherham
Shamsuddin Agha, Chair, Indian Muslim Federation UK
Ngozi Fulani, Sistah Space
Harjit Marwaha, Ambedkar United Front International
Firoza Mohmed, CEO, Humraaz
Dion Spence, Membership & Sustainability Manager, Imkaan
Sofia Karim, Turbine Bagh, London
Anjona Roy, Chair, Dostiyo Asian Women’s Organisation, Northampton
Mohammed Shajin, East-Midlands Malayalee Muslim Association (EMMMA)
Janet Campbell, Chair, Claudia Jones Organisation
Yenny Tovar, Executive Director, Latin American Women’s Aid
Nishma Jethwa, Co-Founder & Director, The Rights Collective
Yasmin Khan, CEO, The Halo Project
Rahni Kaur Binjie, Development & Sustainability Coordinator, Imkaan
Marissa Begonia, Voice of Domestic Workers
Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Resource Services
Benaifer Bhandari, CEO, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre
Sawsan Salim, Director, Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation in UK
Dr. Dania Thomas, Chair, Board of Trustees, Ubuntu Women Shelter
Gabriela Quevedo, Director for Advocacy and Influencing, Latin American Women’s Aid
Senay Dur, Director, IMECE Women’s Centre
Surinder Guru, Birmingham Black Sisters
Sirita Kaur, Support and Development Officer, Kiran Support Services
Joyce Simon, Manager, Anah Project
Gona Saed, Sustainability and Development Manager, Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation UK
Pamela Hudson, Women & Families GBV Specialist Worker, Claudia Jones Organisation
Diana Nammi, Executive Director, IKWRO, Women’s Rights Organisation
Ann Mills, Director , Niara
Vandana Aparanti, Domestic Violence Caseworker, Asian Women’s Resource Centre
Parvinder Aujla, Children’s Support Worker, Kiran Support Services
Umme Imam, Executive Director, The Angelou Centre
Sarbjit Ganger, Director, Asian Women’s Resource Centre
Maira Butt, Chairperson, Humraaz
Mohini Howard, Women 2Gether
Amrita Kaur, Outreach Worker, Kiran Support Services
Adrija Dey, SOAS India Society
Ambedkar Memorial Committee GB
Global Ambedkarites online portal
Castoutcaste , online blog
Kanshi Radio Ltd
Shri Guru Ravidass Temple , Wolverhampton
Ambedkar International Mission , London
Ambedkar International Mission , Canada
Ambedkar International Mission , France
Ambedkar International Mission , Japan
Ambedkar International Mission , Brunei
Ambedkar International Mission , Australia
Ambedkar International Mission , Malaysia
Ambedkar International Mission , Oman
Ambedkar International Mission , UAE
Ambedkar International Mission , Bahrain
Ambedkar International Mission , Iran
Valmiki Sabha International (UK)
Ealing Labour Women’s Forum
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