Rasheeda Bhagat

Hathras shocker: Is UP back to badland days?

Rasheeda Bhagat | Updated on October 05, 2020 Published on October 05, 2020

One too many: Crimes against women   -  THE HINDU

With the kind of cover-up that’s happened, it’s doubtful whether the families of the two raped girls in UP will get justice

Remember the time BJP leaders relentlessly condemned the ‘jungle raj’ in Uttar Pradesh where lawlessness, crime and chaos reigned under the SP and the BSP rule? Well, under Yogi Adityanath, the ‘Pradesh’ has made progress; we can now justifiably call it ‘Jungle Pradesh’, particularly for India’s daughters, for whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi had once given the Beti Bachao clarion call. But going by the rape cases in quick succession in UP, the PM’s call appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

One thing is certain; to be born a Dalit itself is a cardinal sin. The memory of the Unnao rape case and the crass manner in which the Yogi government handled it is still a fresh in our collective conscience. And, now we have the even more heinous case of the rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras village. Here, four upper caste men are charged with the crime committed on September 14. The teenager was not only sexually assaulted, her tongue was cut off and she was so brutally attacked that she had to be admitted to the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) hospital and later shifted to Delhi, where she died.

The version of the teenager, given on September 22 after she regained consciousness at the UP hospital, was recorded before a magistrate, which forced the UP police to add relevant Sections of rape to the initial FIR. Had this case not been picked up by the media, there is little doubt it would have been buried, as later developments indicate.

Forced cremation

An already horrific story gets more horrid; the U.P. cops cremated the body in the dead of the night, destroying all evidence, and forcefully keeping away th victim’s family members. Conveniently enough, the forensic samples taken from her body were sent for analysis 11 days later, in violation of government guidelines that any forensic evidence can be meaningful only within 96 hours of the incident.

Predictably, the forensic report from AMU’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital — wonder when CM Yogi will change this name — found no evidence of rape. But its Chief Medical Officer (CMO) raised a question mark on this evidence.

The UP police, however, conveniently pegged its lies on the flawed report to claim there was no rape. Soon, the BJP IT machinery got into the act with its IT chief, Amit Malviya committing the outrageous crime, under IPC, of revealing her name, while tweeting a video from the victim where she repeatedly says “jabardasti”. This word is commonly used by girls/women for sexual assault, as they feel ashamed to use the word ‘balatkar’.

A day after the Hathras victim died, another 22-year-old Dalit woman, working in a private firm in UP’s Balrampur district was raped by two men. For the saffron brigade on Twitter, what mattered more than the horrid crime was the Muslim names of the rapists. Incredibly, for a while, the fight was over the religion of the rapists in the two cases, and not the total vulnerability of the two young Dalit women who were ravaged by these monsters. Some tweets even stated the names of the rapists’ fathers, just in case!

This woman returned home with an intravascular cannula attached to her hand, indicting she had been given IV fluids. She was distraught and the petrified family rushed her to the hospital, but she died before she could reach it. The family alleged gang-rape and the two accused Muslim men were arrested.

To add insult to injury, the UP government tried to suppress the Hathras case, even while a criminal attempt was being made to create a false narrative through a medically unsustainable and, hence, a fake forensic report, by sealing off the village. But dogged and determined Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, accompanied by other party MPs, managed to reach the victim’s family braving police blows, on the second attempt. Call it political theatre if you will, but pictures of the spontaneous manner in which Priyanka hugged the teenager’s mother evoked the image of Indira Gandhi.

As for Rahul Gandhi, a tweet from Vasundhara Sirnate that caught the eye said it all: “People aren’t humanly built to take the kind of public abuse and insult @RahulGandhi has taken for years now. And he’s still standing. There’s something we need to observe and learn from here. He hasn’t crumbled.”

That it got 12,200 likes shows it resonated with people. Of course, trolls called it the “dope effect”, etc., but then that’s the price you pay in politics.

The main question is: Will the families of the two raped girls get justice? With the UP police, already in the administration’s pocket, does not give much hope.

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Published on October 05, 2020
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