Rape of the “Lesser Beings” and India’s reaction to it
Rapes after rapes of minorities are taking place in India and the government and law enforcement agencies seem to becoming more callous after every incident.
In one such incident in Uttar Pradesh a 19-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped by four men of upper caste on Sept 14 and the police seem to be involved more in hiding the facts then to bringing the culprits to justice. A case has been filed against the suspects however police could not yet arrest them.
Dalit (formerly untouchables) women are more vulnerable to rape and violence in thousands years old caste-based system of India which was ostensibly abolished in 1950.
Family of the victim said police denied their right of performing rituals before funeral pyre and rushed the body for cremation.
According to AP news agency, “The woman’s family told local media that they found her naked, bleeding and paralyzed with a split tongue and a broken spine in a field outside their home.”
The rape has sparked outrage across the country. Police arrested several female activists after they carried out protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Maimoona Mullah of the All India Democratic Women’s Association said UP, which ranks as the most unsafe state for women in India, had become the “rape state of India.”
“We do not accept rape culture in the name of new India,” she said.
In August, a 13-year-old Dalit girl was raped and killed in UP. In December 2019, a 23-year-old Dalit woman in the same state was set on fire by gangsters as she approached a court against rape. Both cases are still pending in court.
Activists in support of Dalits have shut down the main market in Hathras and are demanding action against policemen for mishandling the cases. 200 million Dalits are the most downtrodden citizens in India despite laws protecting them.
Rape and sexual violence were highlighted in India after the rape-slay incident of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, which paved the way for changes in India’s rape laws. This sparked massive protests which led to formation of fast track courts for cases of sexual violence.
According to a government data, every 15 minutes a rape occurs in India. As per the data, police lodged 33,658 cases of rape in 2017 — an average of 92 per day and a 35% jump from 2012. About 10,000 of the reported victims were children. The real figure is believed to be far higher due to the stigma of sexual violence.