Only the naive believed that things will change for women and Dalits living in Uttar Pradesh after the Hathras rape and murder put the state under the scanner. Then came the announcement of ‘Mission Shakti’ on the first day of Navratri, by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath. This campaign was launched in Balrampur, where a 22-year-old woman had died, days after she was allegedly gang-raped by two men on September 29.
CM Adityanath, said he decided to launch this mission from Balrampur, “to pay homage to the victim… Mission Shakti aims at guaranteeing security & respect for every woman in the state.” He warned that there will be zero tolerance in cases of crime against women, and those guilty will be dealt with an iron hand.
महिलाओं एवं बेटियों की सुरक्षा व सम्मान की भावना के प्रसार हेतु जारी ‘मिशन शक्ति’ के द्वितीय दिवस पर स्वावलंबन, आत्मनिर्भरता और सशक्तिकरण की प्रतीक ‘महिला जनप्रतिनिधियों’ से वर्चुअल संवाद… https://t.co/Zwwq9oDY0v
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) October 18, 2020
However criminals, especialy those hunting, raping and killing Dalit girls and women do not seem to care. A 15-year-old Dalit girl has been their latest victim, dying in a Delhi hospital, after she was set ablaze, allegedly by the family of the man who had raped her. The man accused of raping the Dalit minor is in jail, and the police are apparently investigating the link between the two incidents.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly set on fire in Bulandshahr on Tuesday and died at Delhi’s RML Hospital later in the day. The teenager was a rape survivor and the family was being pressured to withdraw her complaint. The FIR filed by the family says seven people entered their home and set her ablaze using petrol, reported the IE, adding that in a video recorded in hospital, she can be heard purportedly saying, “There was an ongoing case of molestation by the same people who came today…”
यूपी में एक और बेटी का आख़िरी बयान। इस बार बुलंदशहर। pic.twitter.com/NE7gBJKlLZ
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) November 17, 2020
The report quotes Bulandshahr SSP Santosh Kumar Singh who confirmed the sexual assault: “In August, a girl was raped by a man. He was arrested. The accused is currently in jail. On Tuesday, we received information that the same girl has been set on fire under suspicious circumstances. Till 11 pm, it appeared she had attempted suicide. But as per the family’s complaint, seven people tried to immolate her.” Seven people have been booked and three arrested so far, said the police. The victim’s family, told the media that those accused of setting her on fire are relatives and acquaintances of the rape accused, who is in prison. He was charged under POCSO and SC/SC Act.
The victim’s uncle was quoted by IE saying they were “being threatened to withdraw the rape case and have a decision in the panchayat. Around 8.30 pm Monday, I received a call from an unknown number – they threatened and told the family to withdraw the case or face consequences. At 9.30 am Tuesday, when the girl’s parents were not at home, we were told that she was set on fire. We rushed her to a nearby hospital and they referred us to Bulandshahr. From there, we were asked to go to RML in Delhi.Doctors treated her for 15-20 minutes…she was declared dead.”
The FIR names Sanjay, Banwari, Badan Singh, Veer Singh, Jaswant Singh, Gautam and Kajal reported IE, the accused they live close to the victim’s home. Initially an FIR was filed under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 506 (criminal intimidation), 452 (trespass) and relevant Sections of SC/ST Act to be updated with Section 302 (murder) as the victim has died.
Uttar Pradesh, has been in the limelight for a massive rise is crimes against women, inlcuding rape, murder, and molestation, espcialy against Dalit women and teenagers. However the state government is now focused on discussing ‘love jihad’. Chief Minister Adityanath has already sounded his ‘warning’ to Hindu-Muslim couples: “I warn those who conceal identity and play with our sisters’ respect. If you don’t mend your ways your ‘Ram naam satya’,” the Hindu funeral chant warning interfaith couples of dire consequences.
Crimes against Dalits reported from Uttar Pradesh in the past few weeks include:
November 17: Dalit girl gang-raped inside public toilet
The victim and her mother alleged that they were forced out of Aliganj police station in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh when they went to file a complaint in the gang rape case, reported Mirror Now. The victim accused the former village head and two other men for gang-raping her. According to news reports the victim and her family have been running from pillar to post to get justice. According to the news report, the victim has identified three accused as: former village head Rajiv, Anil and Akash.
November 14, Fatehpur, Dalit sisters murdered, bodies dumped in pond:
Two Dalit sisters, both minors, were killed, and their bodies ere dumped in the village pond in the Asodhar area of the district. The bodies bore injury marks in the eyes and were retrieved from the pond late in the evening, police told the media. The girls aged 12 and eight were from a Dalit family, and had reportedly gone to the fields in the afternoon to fetch vegetables but did not return, reported the Dailyhunt. The family members of the victims have alleged that the assailants killed the girls after an unsuccessful attempt to rape them, said the police.
October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field
The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.
October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, attacked in their sleep with acid
Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout. She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town.
October 29, Amethi, Dalit man burnt alive by upper-caste men
Victim’s family claims that the five men often threatened to extort money from the Panchayat leader. At least three upper-caste men were arrested for allegedly burning alive the husband of Bandoiya village’s Gram Panchayat President in Amethi district. The victim, Arjun Kori, was found outside the house of the accused with burns on 90 percent of his body. He succumbed to his injuries while enroute to a hospital in Lucknow.
According to President Chutaka, her husband had gone out to the village square for a cup of tea on Thursday evening. However, he never returned. Chutaka alleged that Krishna Kumar Tiwari and his four friends abducted Arjun and burnt him alive in their front yard. She claimed that Tiwari threatened them to extort money. Tiwari believed that he was entitled to a ‘cut’ of the government money Chhotka supposedly received. However, when they denied the existence of any such money, the five men burnt the man in a fit of rage, said Chutaka. Before his death, Arjun’s family recorded his statement wherein he accused K. K. Tiwari, Ashutosh, Rajesh, Ravi and Santosh for burning him alive. The family registered a case of murder at Munshiganj police station against the five men.
October 23, Firozabad district, Dalit teen stalked, molested, shot dead
The Class XI student was returning from school when the three men had allegedly molested her, later they followed her home and shot her in the head. According to a news report in The Telegraph, the Dalit teenager was shot “five times in the head and killed” allegedly by three youths who she had stood up to for molesting her. The three men were identified as Manish Yadav, Sopali Yadav and Gaurav Chak. “She had told us about the incident after returning home. At night, we were walking on the terrace after dinner when the youths came on a motorbike, entered our house and shot my daughter. We rushed downstairs and found her lying in a pool of blood. The trio ran away on seeing us,” the father of the 16-year-old girl told police. He told the police that the men had “been molesting and harassing girls in the area for the past several months.” His daughter, just a teenage schoolgirl, had bravely protested when the trio attacked her.