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Hathras: Why are media houses disputing mention of Dalit girl's caste?, ask NGOs

By Our Representative 

Demanding the resignation of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in backdrop of the gang rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras because he has allegedly “failed to take strict actions to protect scheduled caste/scheduled tribe (SC/ST) women in UP, several civil rights organizations have said that that in the past few years the number of new cases of rape of young women have increased fourfold in the state.
“The Yogi government should take the accountability of deteriorating law and order in UP which has failed to protect young girls and has not been able to provide any security to them in Uttar Pradesh”, a statement signed by Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, Delhi Solidarity Group, People's Resource Centre, Shaheri Mahila Kamgaar Union, Community for Social Change and Development and Sewerage or Sambandh Karmchari Manch, among others, said.
“Many media houses have been questioned for mentioning the caste of the girl but one cannot not mention that it is a result of a very brutal caste based violence”, the statement said, adding, “Dalit women are often subjected to the most brutal violence in this country so much so that the mainstream media also does not cover it because it is not relevant for them to cover these issues.”
According to the statement, “When it comes to caste based violence in India Dalit women are the most vulnerable because the violence against them are culturally and politically motivated. It is a revenge against the entire spectrum of why a woman has raised her voice, these therefore are tools to suppress her voice all together.”
It adds, “The upper caste men often wants to teach the Dalit woman a lesson which is deterrent in nature so that other Dalit women do not challenge their authority. This is why according to reports four Dalit women are raped every day.”
Asserting that in UP data shows that “the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities), Act, 1989 has become a tool to appease the vote banks”, the statement regrets, “The SC/ST Commission in Uttar Pradesh has been without any head for more than eight moths while the pending application of atrocities have been piling up. 

If We Do Not Rise campaign

In a separate statement, the If We Do Not Rise campaign, claiming comprise of more than 600 organizations and networks, condemning the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, by four upper caste men who have now been identified and taken into custody, has said that the “hurried” and “secretive” cremation by the police ignores “the legitimate rights of the family over the body and her right to the last rites.”
Calling it “an offensive violation of laws and of human decency by the police”, amount to to “erasing evidence which is a grave offence”, the campaign said, “The statement by the IG of police in defence of the police actions is deeply objectionable”, adding, it is “disgraceful abuse of power”, something that not happening for the first time.

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