Trigger warning: This article talks about rape and assault.
Protests and anger over the alleged forced cremation of the body of a 19-year-old Dalit woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras have continued to grow on Wednesday, with people taking to the streets demanding justice. The woman’s family has alleged that police forcibly performed the last rites and demanded a judicial investigation.
The 19-year-old woman died at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Tuesday. She was allegedly raped by four men belonging to the dominant caste.
“We demand from state government that this matter be investigated and the culprits be hanged. We also want security. Administration is putting us under a lot of pressure. We don’t trust the local police. There should be judicial investigation,” the woman’s brother was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, the Hathras District Magistrate denied all allegations that the funeral was conducted without the family’s consent. “The father and brother gave their consent to conduct funeral at night. Family members were also present at funeral. Vehicle carrying victim’s body was present at village from 12:45 to 2:30 am,” the DM told ANI.
Protests erupted at the Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday as the woman’s father and cousin sat on a dharna before her body was taken to Uttar Pradesh, according to PTI. Bhim Army and Congress workers also staged protests, demanding justice.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have criticised the Yogi Adityanath government.
In her statement to the police, the 19-year-old woman had said that the four men raped her on 14 September when she had gone to collect firewood, according to Scroll. All the four accused are in jail.
A senior police officer said on Tuesday that rape had not been confirmed and they were waiting for a forensic report, NDTV reported.
The Hathras case is the latest in a string of crimes against women reported from Uttar Pradesh this year. According to the National Crime Record Bureau’s “Crime in India” 2019 report, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of crimes against women. India reported 4,05,861 cases in 2019 and out of these, Uttar Pradesh had 59,853 such incidents.
Here’s a list of crimes against women reported in Uttar Pradesh since March this year. This list is incomplete and will be updated.
1. March 3, 2020: Two sisters, aged 9 and 10, were raped repeatedly for several days by two men from their village in Mau district. The matter came to light when the girls told their elder sister about it.
2. August 6, 2020 : A 6-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped in Garhmukteshwar Kotwali, Hapur district. The accused was arrested after he was shot in the leg after he grabbed a cop’s gun and tried to flee, according to NDTV.
3. August 15, 2020 : A 13-year-old Dalit girl was raped and killed in Lakhimpur Kheri. Two men from her village were arrested.
4. August 15, 2020 : The police said that a teenager was raped, her body singed with cigarette butts in Gorakhpur.
5. August 22, 2020 : A 15-year-old girl Mirzapur district was allegedly drugged and forced into prostitution in Ramnagar area of Varanasi, according to Hindustan Times. Police said that the woman informed she had been held hostage by the owner of a beauty parlour where she worked and she was raped by around a dozen people.
6. August 25, 2020 : The body of a 17-year-old girl was found in Lakhimpur Kheri. The police said that she was raped before being killed with a sharp weapon, according to Scroll.
7. August 25, 2020 : A 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida. Police said the accused tried to run away and opened fire on the police team in his bid to escape, but he was overpowered and caught.
8. September 14, 2020 : A 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped near Hathras. In her statement to the police, the woman had said that the four men raped her on 14 September, but a senior police officer told NDTV that rape had not been confirmed and they were waiting for a forensic report. The 19-year-old woman died in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday.