India: Protesters take to the streets against gang-rape of Dalit woman

Furious protesters take to the streets in outrage at horrific gang rape and murder of woman, 19, in India as five police officers are suspended over handling of case

  • Four ‘upper caste’ men dragged the woman into fields near her home on Sept. 14
  • The victim, of the ‘untouchable’ Dalit class, had been on a ventilator in Delhi
  • She died in September and 4 in custody were further charged with murder
  • Protests were seen across India today with some demonstrators burning effigies 
  • Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has announced the suspension of the police chief and four others over their handling of investigation 

Furious protesters took to the streets across India today demanding justice for the horrific gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman as five senior police officers were suspended over their handling of the case.  

The teenager from the disadvantaged Dalit caste, was found in mid-September outside her village in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state with a broken spine after the savage attack. She died at the end of September in a New Delhi hospital.

The police have arrested four high-caste men on charges of gang-rape and murder.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath late Friday announced the suspension of the Hathras district police chief and four others. 

Protests erupted across India today, with demonstrators burning effigies of PM Narendra Modi in Assam, clashing with police in Noida, and people carrying banners and chanting slogans in villages and towns across the country.    

Supporter of India’s main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath during a protest demanding justice for the death of a Dalit woman after an alleged gang rape in Uttar Pradesh Pradesh Hathras in Nagaon District of Assam, India today 

All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) activists hold placards during a protest over the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman after an alleged gangrape in UP’s Hathras, in Guwahati, India today 

Demonstrators walk following Chief Minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee during a protest against the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman in the Uttar Pradesh state in Kolkata today 

The police have faced criticism for cremating the woman’s body in the middle of the night – reportedly with the help of some petrol – against the wishes of her family and religious custom.

A senior policeman on Thursday sparked further outrage after claiming that a forensic report and an autopsy had shown that the woman had not been raped.

This contradicts statements from the victim and her mother and reported hospital findings, while experts said the forensic test was carried out too long after the attack. 

Hundreds of police have also barricaded the village, preventing the woman’s family from leaving and journalists and opposition politicians from talking to them.

The family’s mobile phones have also reportedly been seized. 

Protesters clash with police personnel to demand politicians access to visit the family of the 19-year-old allegedly gang-raped victim, at the Delhi Noida Direct flyway toll plaza today 

National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (centre) speaks with relatives of the 19-year-old woman allegedly gang-raped and killed by four men in Bool Garhi of Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh state today 

Rahul Gandhi, leader of India’s main opposition Congress party, addresses his party workers at Delhi-Noida border during a protest after the death of a rape victim, in Noida, India, October 3, 2020.

The victim’s brother told one Indian news channel that the family were scared for their lives. The local high court has ordered authorities to provide the family protection. 

The Hindu monk and close ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced that the victim’s family, the accused and the suspended policemen would all undergo lie-detector and drug tests.  

‘We (women) are not actually free, even though India is independent,’ Sanskriti, one of the women at the Delhi protest site yesterday told AFP.

Shiv Sena party youth wing activists hold posters of Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his eyes covered with a face mask, during a protest condemning the alleged gang rape and killing of a Dalit woman, in Mumbai, India today 

‘This is something I want to raise my voice against. And I just wish all the people get united and they understand that it is high time to do something about it,’ she added.  

The young woman’s death comes months after four men were hanged for the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi, in a case that came to symbolise India’s epidemic of sexual violence.

An average of 87 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

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