The nation was shaken by a brutal case of gang-rape on 14th September 2020. This incident intersected with the long-lasting issue of caste-based violence. In Uttar Pradesh’s district of Hathras, a 19-year-old girl was brutalized sexually and physically by four upper-caste men. She was admitted into AMU’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College but later shifted to Safdarjung Hospital. Despite dedicated efforts by doctors, the woman succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday. Protests broke across the country over alleged reports of UP police cremating the victim without her family’s consent.
The autopsy report mentions that the woman was strangled and suffered a cervical spine injury. According to reports in NDTV, the “final report” has no mention of rape. The victim was found by her mother in a horrific state in the fields. She was naked with multiple fractures, a gash in her tongue and was bleeding. The autopsy also noted that she was strangled. Forensic reports claim that the victim bit her own tongue while she was being strangled. The final diagnosis reports that the cause behind her death is, “Alleged post-strangulation with cervical spine injury with sepsis with cardiopulmonary arrest” (Source: NDTV). She was also left paralyzed after blunt force trauma to her spine. Despite determined efforts by the hospital, she was declared dead at 8:55 am.
Massive outrage broke across the country after UP police cremated her body at night. The victim’s family had allegedly requested forces to wait till sunrise. However, police officials denied this request and cremated her body at 1 am. Sources have said that the family was unable to even look at the victim’s body for the last time. Before cremating the body, police forces locked the woman’s family in their home in Hathras. Protests in Delhi were also met with heavy resistance by police forces. Protesters were detained and kept in detention for long periods of time.
Prime Minister Modi has advised UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Aditiyanath to take strict action against the culprits. Consequently, an SIT probe was ordered by the CM. The probe is to be concluded in seven days and the case is to be tried in a fast track court. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the family of the woman in Hathras. Despite heavy barricading, the Congress party undertook a march after their convoy was stopped.
Public outrage has been enormous over the case and citizens have brought into question the efficiency of the UP government. Reports of another rape case in Balarampur district of UP have surfaced. A similar brutality occurs here too and the victim was a 22-year-old Dalit woman. Protests have been called in various cities for a public display of justifiable rage.