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Paralysed Dalit rape victim dies

News triggers protests and an outpouring of outrage on social media by politicians, film stars and cricketers, among others

Our Bureau Lucknow, New Delhi Published 30.09.20, 01:06 AM
Police detain protesters near Vijay Chowk in New Delhi  on Tuesday

Police detain protesters near Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Tuesday PTI

A 19-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and assaulted so brutally that she had got paralysed waist down due to injuries to her spinal cord and her tormentors had chopped off her tongue, died at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday after battling for life for 14 days.

The brutalisation of the Dalit girl, who had been gang-raped in an agriculture field in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district on September 14 by four men from an upper caste, had initially been dismissed as “fake news” by sections of the BJP and chief minister Adityanath’s media adviser.


Her death at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital at 3am triggered protests in the capital and in Hathras, 180km away, and an outpouring of outrage on social media by politicians, film stars and cricketers, among others. Her torment, compared with the 2012 Delhi bus gang rape and murder, had largely gone unreported.

A spokesperson at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh where she had first been admitted said her legs had got completely paralysed and arms partially paralysed.

The Hathras girl’s mother told local reporters on Tuesday: “We had gone to our agricultural field. My daughter and I were working on two edges of the field. After around half an hour, I heard my daughter crying out in pain. I saw that four persons from our village had overpowered her. They were sexually assaulting her and battering her with stones. They also had knives pointed at her. They ran away when I cried out for help.”

The accused — Sandeep Singh, Lavkush Kumar, Ramu Singh and Ravi Kumar — were arrested over the next five days but booked only for attempt to murder. They were charged with gang rape only on Sunday after local media highlighted the issue.

Vikrant Vir, the superintendent of police of Hathras, said the department had withdrawn the local station house officer from active duty after an inquiry pointed to lapses.

“All the accused are behind bars. They will be tried in court for murder and gang rape. We have deployed a force in front of the victim’s house as her family members fear that the criminals would harm them,” the SP said.

Leading a protest outside Safdarjung Hospital, Bhim Army chief and Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad appealed to community members to take to the streets and demand the death penalty for the guilty. “The government should not test our patience. We won’t rest until the culprits are hanged,” he said. Azad, a lawyer, said he would personally fight the case.

Manoj Singh Kaka, a Samajwadi Party leader, said: “The Adityanath government is pampering a particular caste. The same caste men are responsible for the incident in Hathras.”

The Congress said the unspeakable torture had exposed the insensitivity of the Adityanath regime.

Delhi police foiled an attempt by the Youth Congress to hold a flash demonstration at India Gate. Congress workers later took out a candle march near Safdarjung Hospital. The Congress also staged protests in several parts of Uttar Pradesh. A large number of party workers were taken into custody as gatherings are not allowed due to the pandemic.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The jungle raj of Uttar Pradesh has killed another girl. The government said it was fake news and left the victim to die. Neither was this unfortunate incident fake, nor were the death of the victim and the cruelty of the government.”

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, tweeted: “…Rape incidents, one after another — in Hathras, Shahjahanpur, Gorakhpur — have shaken the state. The law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has worsened beyond comprehension. There is nothing left of women’s safety. Criminals are running amok. The killers of this child must be given the strictest punishment.”

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