The conscience of the nation was shaken with the news of gang-raping followed by a brutal murder of a young Dalit woman in the Hathras village in UP. CDRO condemns in no uncertain terms this rape and murder of the young girl of Hathras village.

The nineteen-year-old had been gang-raped when she had gone for collecting grass for cattle. Her neck bone and spinal cord were broken during attempts to strangulate her, and her tongue was cut-off. She was shifted to a hospital in Delhi in bad health condition for treatment where she died on last Wednesday.

As if this ghastly incidence is not enough, the UP police have shown total apathy and complete disregard towards democratic rights. The UP police have tried to shield the upper caste rapists belonging to the Thakur community. On the other hand, the body of the victim, brought to her native village, was whisked off by the police forces to cremate it in the wee hours of the morning. This entire action was carried out without the consent of the family members of the girl. The police force did not allow the press or any activists or political activists to enter the village by cordoning off the area and this news of cremation by the state would have been concealed, if not for a brave reporting by a journalist who could evade the police cordon and enter. The District Magistrate had even threatened the family of the victim of severe consequences if they speak to anyone about the gang rape. The higher authorities of UP police tried to wish away the incident by citing the forensic report from the hospital in Delhi, which had ruled out the occurrence of rape. UP police authority conveniently ignored the fact that forensic report in case of rape should have been performed within 72 hours and not after 11 days!. They also did not take into cognisance of the dying statement of the victim where she had mentioned about the rape. ‘At one point, a cop is also heard saying to the parents of the victim, “Aur aap log maaniye ki aap log se bhi galti hui hai.” (you will also have to accept that you made a mistake too)’ (https://feminisminindia.com/2020/10/01/hathras-rape-case-up-thakur-caste-based-violence/).

CDRO considers that this apathy towards a rape victim is not a sudden deterioration of UP law & order but is a clear manifestation of the systematic violation of democratic rights guaranteed by the constitution on the right to life under Article 21 that ensures human dignity as part of the right to life. Let us look into a few recent incidences where this behaviour is evident.

When the migrant workers returned from cities to their home state of UP in the wake of lockdown due to Corona pandemic, they were treated like animals— dumped in a crowded space, sprayed disinfectant on their bodies without care for their life and safety. The broad daylight lynching of religious minorities, death in police custody, encounter killing, or harassment meted out to the anti-CAA protesters and imposing draconian UAPA on them all speak of scant respect of the Yogi-government for democratic norms enshrined in the constitution. Their actions bear testimony to the fact that these are openly anti-people, pro-upper caste and upper class. The hooligans of the Hindutva brigade had carried out a campaign against so-called love jihaad which not only got support from the BJP government but also from opposition leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, and this shows how deep the communal divisions and patriarchy run in UP society. So it does not come as a big surprise when we read and hear about MahaPanchayat organised in support of the rapists belonging to Thakur community or the District Magistrate’s threat to the family of the victim for complaining against rape and murder.

CDRO firmly believes that abject failure in upholding law and order by the lower rank of administration, police or judiciary cannot happen without the support from the higher echelons in power.

We demand:

  1. Chief Minister, who is also the Home Minister, should resign taking responsibility of complete collapse of law and order and for reluctant steps taken by his administration.
  2. We condemn UP government’s attempt to suggest that there is an international conspiracy aimed at defaming the government as we strongly believe that it is nothing but a ploy to distract and divert the people from the actual issue of covering up the crime and destroying the shreds of evidence in order to protect the upper caste perpetrators.
  3. The S.P., DSP, D.M., ADM in charge of the district police and executive should be suspended forthwith and action initiated upon them for the perpetration of atrocity under SC/ST atrocity act, a threat to the life of the victim, attempts to destroy evidence.
  4. Institute an enquiry commission under a sitting judge and bring to book the perpetrators of rape and murder as well as overt or covert abettors of crime.
  5. Fast track the trial under the supervision of the Allahabad High Court, which to our satisfaction, has suo moto taken cognisance of the crime.

6.Provide protection to the victims family. Award suitable compensation for loss of life from government coffers.

  1. Withdraw the false charges imposed upon the political and democratic rights activists as well as journalists who were attempting to visit the village, meet the family members of the victims to bring out the truth.
  2. Arrest all rungs of unscrupulous leaders who try to whip up caste rivalry and hate campaign and interfere/obstruct in the process of justice.
  3. Those running parallel extra-judicial processes like caste MahaPanchayats and the abettors for the MahaPanchayats have to be arrested forthwith for extra-judicial activities as per the Supreme Court directive against such MahaPanchayats obstructing the judicial process.

K.Kranthi Chaitanya, Prit Pal Singh, Tapas Chakraborty and V. Raghunath

(Coordinators of CDRO)

Constituent Organisations: Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association, West Bengal; Bandi Mukti Committee (West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights ; Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Hariyana), Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janhastakshep (Delhi)

CO-ORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION(CDRO)


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