Hathras Gangrape, Forcible Cremation Symbolic of Caste Violence, Lawlessness in UP: Left Parties

Hathras Gangrape, Forcible Cremation Symbolic of Caste Violence, Lawlessness in UP: Left Parties

The Left parties on Wednesday hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government stating that the burial of the gangrape victim in Hathras without her family’s consent was “blatant denial of justice and exposed the prevalence of caste-based violence in the state. In a press statement, the Politburo of the CPI(M) said the “barbaric caste based rape” was “reflective of the utter lawlessness” in the northern state.

The 19-year-old Dalit woman was raped in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras by four men on September 14. After her condition deteriorated, she was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday. The woman was cremated in Hathras during the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging that the local police forced them to conduct the last rites in the dead of the night.

“The CPI(M) strongly condemns the actions of the Adityanath Government on the blatant denial of justice to the Hathras dalit rape victim and her family. Her death is the result of the callous approach of the Government,” the statement said. “The victim was grievously injured in the barbaric rape crime committed by four upper caste men on September 14, her tongue was cut out, she was bleeding profusely but the police refused to file an FIR for five days, denied the victim the immediate medical treatment which could have saved her and in the ultimate act of caste cruelty, the police cremated her body, denying the family the right to give their daughter a dignified funeral,” it said.

The CPI(M) Politburo alleged that under the BJP government, patronage given to casteist and reactionary forces was leading to a big increase in crimes against Dalits and women. The party demanded action against the police personnel who reportedly refused to file an FIR in the case and against those responsible for the forcible cremation of the victim.

CPI general secretary D Raja in a separate statement said according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, in the past few years crimes against Dalits are on the rise and at the same time the convictions rates have substantially declined. The official statistics further indicate that UP is leading in crimes against Dalits especially Dalit women, he said. The woman’s death was “one more instance laying bare the violence of caste society and the absolute humiliation engendered by the ideology of Brahmanical Patriarchy”, Raja said.

“Her death poses a deep moral question upon the Indian society which even after seven decades of the formal establishment of the modern democratic republic continues to be organised and operating through the archaic, irrational and violent caste collectives. While the four upper caste perpetrators have been arrested, this entire incident draws attention to the deplorable situation prevailing in Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath,” he said.

The CPI leader further accused the Adityanath government of “subscribing to and practicing the unconstitutional caste norms and alleged that a culture of violence is carefully being cultivated and social hierarchies are being bolstered. Violence is the cornerstone of this divisive vision of the Hindu rightwing. The CPI condemns the Adityanath government for failing in its responsibilities as an elected government. Adityanath government has completely failed to uphold the constitution and to protect the human rights and dignity of the Dalits and adivasis,” the Left leader said.

The CPI demanded that Adityanath step down as chief minister, saying he has no “moral right” to continue on the post. It also demanded stringent punitive action against the perpetrators under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity (POA) Act. Making the demands on behalf of his party, Raja also called for a nation-wide protest against the rape and murder.

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