The body of Hathras rape victim was hastily cremated by police at night
The body of Hathras rape victim was hastily cremated by police at night Image Credit: Screengrab

A 19-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh was gang raped by four men. They cut off her tongue, severed her spinal cord. She died in hospital yesterday and was denied even the dignity of a family funeral. The Uttar Pradesh police, which had taken 10 days to register an FIR of gang rape, locked her helpless family inside their home and cremated her. Let no one tell you caste is irrelevant in new India in Uttar Pradesh under BJP Chief Minister, monk turned leader, Yogi Adityanath -- a “Thakur raj” (rule of the Thakurs Yogi’s caste) rages.

And, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two times Lok Sabha member from Varanasi, and his Women and Child Development Minister, Smriti Irani, Member of Parliament from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, are mum. They have not even commiserated with the poor family of land tillers, forget ordering any action or compensation. Uttar Pradesh has been here before - with former BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Senger convicted of gang rape and murdering the victim’s father in 2019 and former union minister of the BJP Chinmayand allegedly accused of rape who walked out of jail on bail in February this year.

The Hathras victim’s family has accused the police of first callously not bothering to register an FIR and then trying to find loopholes for the accused, all upper caste Thakurs. Yogi Adityanath runs a dismal law and order in Uttar Pradesh, but the two regional parties - the Bahujan Samaj Party led by the first woman Dalit Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, and the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav are mum. They have taken to social media to condemn the incident. Social media is accessed by a minuscule percentage of India, certainly not poor Dalits who they claim to represent.

The hasty funeral was to ensure that Yogi Adityanath faces no further flak from the victim’s broken family. Some perspective. Actor Kangana Ranaut was recently granted Y category protection, same as that accorded to the Chief Justice of India because of an ostensible threat she faced from the Shiv Sena. The BJP clearly cares about the security of some stars and supporters -- the only ones who do not matter are those facing the brunt of caste violence in Uttar Pradesh. The Modi government has a flagship scheme called “Beti Bacchao, Beti Padhao” (save your daughters, educate them). The first part “save your daughters to me now feels like a threat.

Swati Chaturvedi, Special to Gulf News-1592296808900