“My daughter was lying naked with her tongue protruding from her mouth. Her eyes were bulging out and she was bleeding from her mouth, her neck and there was blood near her eyes… I quickly covered her with the pallu of my sari, and started screaming..”
These are the words of mother of the 19-year-old Hathras victim who was taken by her mother and brother to the Chandpa police station in September last year. But instead of promising legal help, what police told them is to take her away from there.
This is not what the law can term ‘rarest of rarest’. This happens every time in the state of Uttar Pradesh making it the first having record of highest crime rate against Dalit women. In this case of 19 year old from a Dalit household, her family hired an ambulance and took her to a local hospital where she was kept waiting for two crucial hours before being referred to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical Hospital in Aligarh.
She was kept there for nine days with the doctors refusing to confirm that she had suffered sexual assault. She was then sent to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where she regained a little consciousness to be able to give the names of the four men who had maimed, assaulted and raped her. All four men belonged to the dominant Thakur community.
And finally she died on September 29 2020. The police didn’t allow her family to cremate her body. Rather they carted it to a wilderness outside her village, doused it with petrol and cremated her.
The names changed but the story repeated then and now. The Badaun gang rape, Unnao… every day the story takes place in different villages. And Uttar Pradesh has been hitting headlines with all the horror. Activist and CPI-M politburo member Subhashini Ali points out that the three districts of UP, namely Hathras, Badaun and Unnao, could hardly be singled out for their crimes against women.
“Most parts of UP including Meerut and Bareilly are killing fields as far as women are concerned,” says Ali.
NCRB Reports show that crime against women has gone up 73 per cent in 2019 as against 2018, with UP accounting for 14.7 per cent of all registered crimes against women, with 59,853 cases.
It has also recorded the highest number of cases against Dalit women. And the shocking part is that these figures are based on the number of rapes recorded in police stations and not on the number of crimes that have actually occurred.
“Rape in UP is nothing new and crimes against Dalit women has happened frequently in the past also,” says Neelam Chatuvedi, NGO Mahila Manch, Kanpur.