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Hathras not isolated case, is structural anti-Dalit violence: BIAS, TISS students, alumni

By Our Representative

A large number of students and alumni of the Birla Institute of Applied Sciences (BIAS), Nainital, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), with branches in Mumbai, Guwahati and Tuljapur, have said in an identical statement that the Hathras incident “cannot be seen in isolation but as structural casteist violence committed by upper caste people against Dalits as a community and Dalit women in particular.”
Commenting on the gangrape of Dalit girl Manisha, who subsequently died in September-end, in a statement, they said, “The family of the victim had been continuously harassed by two of the accused and other people from the upper castes of their locality”, blaming the incident on “the upper caste dominating Thakur community” which has been found involved in “caste-based violence before” in Boolgarhi village of Hathras district of UP.
Asserting that the “same men attempted to rape her even before”, the statement said, “There are countless cases where sexual violence on Dalit women has been committed in the guise of teaching lessons to the Dalit community as a whole”, adding, “The body of Dalit women has been subjected to sexual violence by abusive and barbaric upper-caste men time and again.”
Accusing the police system and state machinery for “shamelessly” siding with the powerful people which committed the crime in Hathras, the statement said, these people were extended “all the help earlier by not providing the proper treatment to the victim and then by denying the rights of the victim’s family to performing the last rites.”
The statement accused the authorities of “failing” to transfer the victim immediately to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences “even after the condition was too critical for her survival”, adding, “Later also, after 14 days, she was only admitted a day before her death in the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.”
Rolling out data, the statement said, “Over 3,500 Dalit women were raped in India in the year 2019, with one 3rd of them comes from the state of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. About 2.42 lakh rape cases in 7 years (2013-19), after the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, almost four women are raped every hour. Such barbarism is supported by the casteist state, it said, adding, it is “a blot on the Indian justice system” as well.
Demanding “immediate commencement of fast track trial and stricter punishment to the guilty”, the statement demanded “strong actions against the police officials who held the victim away from receiving proper treatment and denied the victim’s family of their rights to perform the last rites.” It added, strong actions should be taken against the police/government officials who have been “trying to destroy the evidence” and “threatening” the victim's families.

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