Skip to main content

Hathras Dalit victim's family facing pressure from UP's powerful feudal-caste interests

Saffron-clad supporters of Thakur accused entering village
By Our Representative 
A fact-finding report, prepared after its recent visit to Hathras, has said that ever since the gruesome grangrape incident in Uttar Pradesh on September 14, the victim’s family has had to fight its “battle amidst feudal-casteist environs and politics” in which it is being forced to operate. Worse, hurdles were created for those who seeking to give a supporting hand the family. The victim (identified by the team as Dasya), died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight later.
The team, under the banner of the civil society network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), included NAPM convener Medha Patkar, academic and political activist Sandeep Pandey, Khudai Khitmadtar convener Faisal Khan, Supreme Court advocate Ehtesham Hashmi, and Delhi Solidarity Group representatives Joe Athialy and Amit Kumar.
The team, which met the family members of Dasya, belonging to the Dalit Valimiki community, found that accused are from the influential Thakur caste, which dominated in the village, Bulgarhi, was receiving support from powerful circles. Thus, on visiting the village at around 1 pm on October 9, the team members had to not just “pass through the police cordon and barricades”, but were stopped and told that no “more than five members can go together to meet the victim’s family.”
While the team was allowed in after writing applications addressed to the sub-divisional magistrate in a two team of two 5 and 4, it was witness to a second team, consisting of “saffron turban clad Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha activists” with posters stuck on their vehicles with the message written that they were there only to meet the ‘victim’ Thakur family.
“They were about ten to twelve people. They argued with police to go together and after much debate they were allowed to go together inside the village”, the report said.
According to the report, Bulgarhi, a village with more than 600 families, and just about 15 Dalit families, which has experienced “a number of repressive acts and atmosphere over decades”. Thus, Dasya’s family was allotted 5 bighas of land by Mayawati’s government in 1990s. “However, till today, they are in physical possession of only three and half bighas while the rest is apparently encroached upon by some Brahmin family”, it added.
Pointing towards how, after the gangrape, Dasya was brought to the Balga Hospital in an unconscious state, the report said, “The doctors were not briefed by police nor did any policeman or official did any investigation as per all the family members, Dasya’s mother, brother, father, sister-in-law (bhabhi) and bhabhi’s brother”, which is “absolutely necessary under section 375 of IPC.”
“Almost nothing happened in 24 hours and she was shifted to an Aligarh hospital, when she was still almost unconscious. Her tongue was bitten and broken, not allowing her to speak a word. It was in the Aligarh hospital, the relatives heard, the doctors exclaiming that they didn’t know from where had the case been brought to them and for what”, the report said.
In fact, according to the report, at Aligarh, “the family since the beginning felt that the doctors and employees were under enormous pressure.”, However, “they did give basic treatment”, which led to Dasya becoming “a little consciousness for some time after a day or two and narrated her story to her mother, taking names of the four culprits, referring to rape and brutal assault.”
The report said, only when the family members, frustrated at the way things were going on, decided to speak out, and called the doctors, sisters, and relative of other patients present in the ward that the “reality came into the public domain.” This happened when “the whole systemic force was active around them with no space to manoeuvre, nor much support.”
Thus, the doctors at Aligarh, “who must have checked her whole body, didn’t examine anything related to sexual assault, nor did they enquire with her family till she herself brought out the truth.
“This passage, rather wastage, of time could be deliberate since late examination couldn’t ever prove rape. The intention obviously could be to miss or lose evidence forever”, the report alleged. The result was, if the medico legal case report mentions penetration of vagina by penis, while the report from the forensic department “rules out this possibility.” 
Thakur supporters of accused were 10 to 12 people. They argued with police to go together. They were allowed to go together inside the village
A similar treatment continued with Dasya’s family after she was shifted to Delhi, and admitted to the Safdarjung hospital. Here, said the report, Dasya family was told she was in ICU, “but there was no one to explain them, console them and they didn’t hear about the police investigation while they were much harassed, with questions asked; with no answers given to their queries.”
In fact, said the report, “The family remembered how Dasya’s father was called to the district magistrate in Hathras and questioned about the incidence. More than listening to his replies, an unclear message given to him on the very next day of the incidence that he and the family should convey to all about their being satisfied with the enquiry and the treatment both. This itself conveys the state was preparing to suppress the truth and close the case forever.”
“At the Safdarjung hospital, when Dasya succumbed to her injuries, all the family members sitting outside were simply informed by the police and made to face utter distress, grief and pain. Their consent was sought for post mortem process, but nothing else was shared”, the report said, adding, they were only called to show the body put inside the mortuary. 
“None realised that the body in the hands of the administration, wherever stored, was unsafe”, the report said, adding, “The shocking news a few hours later was that the police had taken away the body for cremation, without seeking their consent or opinion. The police sent the family in a van to Hathras but stopped the vehicle away from the cremation ground. The women vehemently cried and tried to stop and knock at the police vans but in vain.”
Hurdles were put on those who tried to support the family. While it has been widely reported how Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were sought to be stopped from visiting Hathras, Dalit community leaders have had to face a worse ordeal.
Thus, the report said, Shyoraj Jivan, a staunch defender of Dalit rights and a leading activist from Valmiki community to which the Dalit family belonga, came to not just meet, console and give immediate support, but also to be active in the long-term legal battle.
Jivan got furious to hear the story and the history, the report said, adding, he spoke out in anguish and anger and made a statement to some media in the same mood that if anyone happens to look at Dalit girls with wrong intention, his eyes would be popped out.
This made the Uttar Pradesh police arrest him, and is still in jail, and Dasya’s family members “feel that their only supporter from Valmiki community, to which they belong, is kept away as a conspiracy.”
Yet another supporter, Dr Jyoti Bansal, an Ambedkarite, who reached out to Hathras and console as well as strengthen Dasya’s family’s to stand up and fight for justice, was declared a Naxalite. The report quotes Dasya’s bhabhi as telling the NAPM team: “When she spoke to Babuji (father), he felt highly consoled. We could find him interacting with her and coming out of depression to an extent. We, therefore, requested her to stay back and she did.”
The babhi added, Dr Bansal “stayed for the second night on our insistence and changed the atmosphere in the hours, in spite of a large police force surrounding us for 24x7 and outsiders continuing to visit and question. When these are the facts, we feel sad that she is blamed as a Naxal.”

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).