Feminists and Feminist groups condemn the horrific rape and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, UP. 


  • October 5, 2020
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Over 10,000 feminists, feminists groups and concerned citizens condemn the brutal gangrape and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras and demand action against the guilty, as well as responsible officials.

 

 

Over 10,000 people from all walks of life, cutting across caste, religion, gender, occupation and community came together from almost every state in India and more than a dozen countries across the world to demand justice for the heinous rape, brutalising attack and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras. In a sharp statement condemning the incident, they said that despite a continuing saga of countless other cases of brutal sexual assault and murders especially of young Dalit women the conscience of this nation does not seem to be shaken enough to do anything serious to stop the systematic targeting of women, Dalits and the poor.” 

 

While there is a historicity to these incidents but under CM Yogi’s rule, Uttar Pradesh has only gone from bad to worse. Crimes against women and Dalits have increased, and today UP tops the charts for atrocities against Dalits, it also tops the charts for crimes against women.

 

Even as the tragic news of the death of the victim from Hathras was coming in, more cases of sexual violence on Dalit women have come up from Balrampur, Bulandshahar, Azamgarh, all in UP. While the caste atrocities gain public attention only when they manifest themselves as sexual violence, suicide or murders, we also need to understand the ways in which caste manifests itself in our daily lives. The Hathras case is a blatant case of upper caste power and patriarchy operating through both, socially sanctioned violence and through state agencies.

 

The signatories in the statement said that as members of society and women’s and feminist movements they resolve to address the issue of caste based discrimination, violence and atrocities, until its complete annihilation. They emphasised that the state must no push a rhetoric of death penalty for rape, for It have been seen time and again that capital punishment is not the answer to stopping crimes, sexual or otherwise, anywhere in the world. In our own country, it is barely 6 months since the hanging of those held guilty of the December 2012 gang rape and murder in Delhi, but it had not stopped the guilty of Hathras, or Balramur, or Bulandshahr or Azamgarh… or anywhere else.

 

Calling for the resignation of the present UP government which has lost all moral ground to rule the state where women, people from oppressed castes and anyone raising their voice in protest are systematically and repeatedly being targeted, the signatories demanded among other things

 

  • Both, the criminals and negligent state officials who failed to fulfil their duty towards the victim be prosecuted for caste atrocities, by invoking SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
  • Police officials who refused to file an FIR must be booked under the CLA 2013.
  • All officials involved in covering up and attempting to destroy the case, be they the District Magistrate, Police, and other members of the ruling government must be held accountable.
  • The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court to commission an independent and fearless enquiry against the guilty without any delay.
  • Action be taken against the BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya who shared a video of the Hathras gang rape victim on Twitter and hence revealed her identity, in violation of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 

The signatories included teachers, activists, journalists, homemakers, corporate sector executives, designers, cultural groups and artists, writers, poets, school teachers, students, retired private and public officials, film societies, medical students and faculty, IT professionals, and numerous others. Prominent among them are:

 

Well known progressive voices like Dr Syeda Hamid, Aruna Roy, Maimoona Mollah, Annie Raja, Beena Pallical, Cynthia Stephens, Rose Dzuvichu, Masooma Ranalvi, Roshmi Goswami, Anjali Bharadwaj, Kavita Krishnan, Dr Ajita Rao, Kalyani Menon Sen, Chayanika Shah, Rituparna, Bittu, Shampa Sengupta, Ranjana Padhi, Elina Horo, Sabina Martins Jarjum Ete, Kiran Deshmukh, Rita Manchanda, Meera Sangamitra, Feroze Mithiborwala and others;

 

Retired public officials such as Jawahar Sircar (Former Culture Secretary, GoI and ex- CEO, Prasar Bharati), Jerusha Rai, Kavita Singh, Police Office (Jaipur), Latha Reddy (retd IFS) and others;

 

Legal luminaries like Indira Jaising, Flavia Agnes, Poonam Kaushik, Shalini Gera;

 

Individuals and groups from the worlds of culture such as Aparna Sen, Maya Krishna Rao, Anju Mahendru, Adhuna, Anjali Montiero, Mallika Taneja, Vani Subramanian and others, as well as Progressive Writers Association, Artists United, IPTA, Banjara Theatre, Samudaya Theater group, Jazba Theatre Group, Jana Natya Manch, Peoples’ Theatre Group;

 

Senior journalists such as Ankita Anand, Pamela Phillipose, Kavin Malar, Rajshri Dasgupta, Antara Dev Sen, Sujata Madhok, Francesca Mascarenhas;

 

Eminent Academics like Mary John, Nivedita Menon, Janaki Nair, Sadhna Arya, Rukmini Sen Meena Gopal, Lata Singh, and others;

 

And hundreds of rights groups including Saheli, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Dalit Sthree Sakthi, NFIW, AIDWA, AIPWA, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Dr. Ambedkar Medicos Association, NWMI, Haatemalo, Human Rights Forum of India, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements, Majlis, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan, Dalit Women Fight, Dalit Intellectual Collective, Dalit Ekta, Dalit Women Fight, Delhi University Women’s Association, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, AUD Queer Collective, PUCL, Mahila Dakshita Samiti, Orinam Indian Social Institute, ANHAD, Bebaak Collective, Asmita Collective, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, National Domestic Workers Movement, Naga Mothers Association, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Alternative Law Forum, Community Awareness for Rural Development, Forum for Justice and Peace, Lawyer’s Collective, Women’s Forum, LABIA – A queer feminist LBT Collective, Vidrohi Mahila Manch, South Asians for Human Rights, Xommonoy (a queer collective), Satark Nagrik Sangathan, Sachetana, Progressive Democratic Students Union, Vanchit Bal Adhikaar manch, All India Union of Forest Working People, Bhim army, Queerala, Bharat Bachao Andolan, YWCA, WeSpeakOut, Streebal, Maati, Sahiyar, Sampada Garmin Mahila Sanstha, SANGRAM, Sangli, , Women and Transgender JAC, SAATHI, Democratic Youth Federation of India, SAMA, Adivasi Women’s Network, All India Students Federation, Gamana Mahila Samuha, Free Speech Collective, VAMP Sangli, KSSP, National Alliance of Women, Haatemalo Collective, Nagaland Deaf Association, Delhi Science Forum, Feminist Learning Partnerships, , South Asia Forum for Human Rights etc.

 

THE COMPLETE STATEMENT IS PASTED BELOW 

 

Feminists and Feminist groups condemn the horrific rape and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, UP. 

 

CASTE AND PATRIARCHY ASSERT THEIR UGLY POWER AGAIN. AND THE STATE STANDS WITH THEM AGAINST THE BETIS OF INDIA! 

 

Women’s groups condemn the horrific rape and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, UP. 

 

Stand with the family in their sorrow. Extend support, solidarity and rage. 

 

Shame on the State that stands with the guilty. Shame on the State that increases the impunity with which upper caste forces who commit violence and hate crimes. 

 

Demand immediate action against the state officials responsible for mishandling the case, destroying key evidence, and further traumatising the family and community. 

 

14 years after the horrific Khairlanji case. 8 years after the brutal December 2012 case. Almost 3 years after the hideous Kathua case. And despite a continuing saga of countless other cases of brutal sexual assault and murders especially of young Dalit women the conscience of this nation does not seem to be shaken enough to do anything serious to stop the systematic targeting of women, Dalits and the poor. Worse yet, in almost every case, the actions of the state have further traumatised the victims and/or their loved ones, obstructed the cause of justice, and shielded the guilty.

 

The gory details, the visuals, the total caste and gender insensitivity with which the whole case has been handled by the powers that are supposed to protect people and implement the law, the violation of Article 21, that she was accorded no dignity even after death… the cries of the Hathras case leave us stunned, but raging. After more than four decades of relentless struggles against violence on women, we understand that the marginalisation of women as determined by caste, religion, class, sexualities and other markers of powerlessness in society aggravate, make them so much more vulnerable – not just at the social level, but also at the hands of state agencies which are hand and glove with powerful, castiest, communal and other forces of society. 

 

The Hathras case is a blatant case of upper caste power and patriarchy operating through socially sanctioned violence and through state agencies. The details of the manner in which the police has wilfully manhandled the case – from their refusal to file of an FIR, to not providing the victim enough medical aid, to denying her rape to inhumanly cremating her in the middle of the night without the consent or presence of her parents and family members… raises so many questions on the conduct of the administrative authorities and the impunity given to police force by the ruling government. All these actions have resulted in destruction of key evidence. It is evident that the ruling powers have no interest in pursuing the cause of justice and holding the guilty accountable for their heinous actions. 

 

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh remained indifferent until compelled to act. Not surprisingly, crimes against women and Dalits have increased under his government, and police have been given unlimited powers without any accountability. Even as the tragic news of the death of the victim from Hathras was coming in, more reports of aggravated sexual violence on Dalit women and brutalising injuries have come in from Balrampur, Bulandshahar, Azamgarh, all in UP. The actions of the state in the Hathras case will only further strengthen those who continue to commit such crimes without any fear of punishment. 

 

We believe that a proper course of justice, fair investigation, holding the guilty persons and police and other state officials responsible are the only way forward. It is only fear of certain justice and accountability that can stop privileged men from committing such crimes. The state must not, we repeat NOT, push a rhetoric of death penalty for rape – for we have seen time and again that that is not the answer to stopping crimes, sexual or otherwise, anywhere in the world! 

 

After all, in our own country, it is barely 6 months since the hanging of those held guilty of the December 2012 gang rape and murder in Delhi. Has it stopped the guilty of Hathras, or Balrampur, or Bulandshahr or Azamgarh or anywhere else?

 

TOGETHER WE DEMAND: 

 

  • Both, the criminals and negligent state officials who failed to fulfil their duty towards the victim be prosecuted for caste atrocities, by invoking SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

 

  • The present UP government must resign. It has lost all moral ground to rule the state where women, people from oppressed castes and anyone raising their voice in protest are systematically and repeatedly being targeted.

 

  • Police officials who refused to file an FIR must be booked under the CLA 2013. 

 

  • Police personnel responsible for cremating the victim surreptitiously in the dead of the night must be immediately dismissed and charged with destroying evidence. All officials involved in covering up and attempting to destroy the case, be they the District Magistrate, Police, and other members of the ruling government must be held accountable. 

 

  • Instead of the SIT as instituted by the state government, we urge the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court to commission an independent and fearless enquiry against the guilty without any delay.

 

  • Action be taken against the BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya who shared a video of the Hathras gang rape victim on Twitter and hence revealed her identity, in violation of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 

  • The recommendation of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, 2013 must be implemented to ensure that women, especially women from oppressed identities, are able to exist with dignity and without fear in this country.

 

  • The family of the victim must be provided with security and safety.

 

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