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The Hathras Gang Rape and what it Reveals about Uttar Pradesh

Sana Khanam

13th October 2020

A 19-year-old girl was brutally assaulted out in the open while the police stood by and watched, doing nothing to stop it. This was the dreadful and reprehensible situation that is

dangerously close to becoming common-place in Uttar Pradesh today. This horrific act

involved four upper-class men brutally raping and torturing a Dalit girl, as mentioned in The Hindu. According to The Times of India, these acts resulted in the removal of the victim's tongue and damage to the spinal cord. The victim survived the alleged rape but succumbed to her many injuries 15 days later in a hospital on September 29. However, the victim would continue to pay for being a "Dalit girl" as the UP Police officials cremated her body under cover of night. Her family claims to have been kept from providing the victim with proper funeral rituals which would amount to a denial of their fundamental rights as stated in Article 21 of the constitution, which entitles every citizen of India to have decent cremation burial as per their traditions.

An artwork depicting the trauma a rape victim faces. (Artwork by Sana Khanam)

The victim had supposedly gone to work on the fields of these upper-class men of the Thakur family, where she was dragged, gang-raped and strangled by her dupatta, as reported in Indian Express. The UP, the government, swiftly handed the case over to the CBI. Chief Minister Adityanath has announced a compensation of Rs.25 lakh and promised safety to the victim's family, as mentioned in Times of India. However, many are claiming that this fair compensation tactic might be an attempt to conceal administrative failure in the state. The Hathras incident underlines that the UP policeman, impatient with the checks of procedure and law, stands against the vulnerable and powerless.

This case is another classic example of the heinous crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh and throughout the country. According to The Hindu, a series of 6 cases were reported in UP in the past two months, all with the same pattern of raping and then murdering the victim. In Balarampur, a 22-year-old girl died after being ruthlessly raped by a two-man on September 29th. Three minor girls were allegedly raped and murdered in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri district. On 14 August, when the country celebrated Independence Day, a 13-year-old "Dalit" was viciously raped and murdered. In this particular case, the girl's corpse was discovered in a sugarcane field missing both eyeballs and with a mutilated tongue. After 10 Days, another 17-year-old girl was raped and murdered. A 3-year-old girl was also gang-raped and murdered on 4th September. Caste tension continues to simmer on the ground with its inevitable cycle of humiliation, violence, and inequities. The use of sexual violence to oppress lower caste people have been on the rise. The latest record by the National Crime Bureau shows that the crime rate against women in UP has been the highest in the country, with 14.7% of the total cases.

In this case, the best that the government can do is to provide quicker investigation and prosecution of the accused. The failures on the part of the government and police are the root cause behind crimes against women. The Uttar Pradesh government and other state governments should enforce the laws strictly for women's safety, or else there will be no end to these cold-blooded creatures defiling innocent women.

Edited by Ayush Lahoti

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