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600 groups observe #IfWeDoNotRise on Hathras day: '10 Dalit girls raped each day'

Shabnam Hashmi
By Our Representative
To mark one month of the “alleged gang rape and brutalization by upper caste men” of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, a Delhi-based human rights organization Anhad (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) led by senior activist Shabnam Hashmi, has held a nationwide campaign, #IfWeDoNotRise, on October 29 to give “voice to the cumulative outrage of citizens” against such incidents across India.
In a statement ahead of campaign, Anhad said, “The Hathras case is only the tip of the iceberg. Statistics suggest that every day 10 Dalit women are raped in India. Following the Hathras tragedy, there have been horrific reports of rapes of Dalit women in Balrampur, Azamgarh, Bulandshahr and other parts of India. If we do not rise and demand that immediate steps be taken to address the crisis, gender and caste based violence with continue with impunity.”
Recalling the tragedy that befell the Hathras girl, who died on September 29 in Delhi, an Anhad statement says, “The police refused to hand over the body to her family for last rites and cremated her in the middle of the night, not only violating the rights of the family but willfully destroying all evidence. The state response smacked of willful negligence and complicity.”
Claiming that as many as 600 women’s groups, Dalit women’s organizations and movements, LGBTQIA groups, human rights organizations and other civil society networks participated in the #IfWeDoNotRise campaign, Anhad says, “Protests are being held in across India, creative events against patriarchy and caste will be organized on social media platforms, and state level webinars and Facebook lives will be organized with activists, poets, performers and prominent Dalit voices.”
The demands of the #IfWeDoNotRise campaign include resignation of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, holding him “accountable” for spate of caste and gender-based atrocities in the state”; and completion of the CBI investigation into the incident in a time bound manner, as directed by the Supreme Court to the Allahabad High Court for monitoring the probe.
Anhad also seeks time-bound inquiry and prosecution of police officers and officials of the district administration for their complicity in the incident, including the late night cremation of the girl without consent and participation of the family; and ensuring the family of the girl be given “all rights as per the provisions of the anti-atrocities Act and protection from any backlash and violence.”
It further seeks exemplary compensation to the family along with the provision for re-locating to a different place, if they so choose; legal action against those threatening or putting pressure on the family; and formation of an independent empowered committee to take stock of implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Verma committee, formed in the aftermath Nirbhaya gangrape Case in 2012 and the ensuing nationwide protests.

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