Brief background of the Hathras rape case: The death of a 19 year-old dalit girl in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, India has once again highlighted the issue of violence against women, particularly dalit women in the country. The young girl succumbed to her injuries on September 29, after she was allegedly gang raped by a group of upper caste men. She belonged to the dalit community which is at the bottom of the India’s rigid caste hierarchy. She sustained serious injuries to her spinal cord because she was also brutally assaulted by the alleged perpetrators.
What was even more shocking in this case was how the local administration handled the matter when this incident came to light. On the night of her death, the local police returned to the girl’s village with her body, but instead of handing her over to her mourning family, it is said that her family was pressurised to cremate her body there and then. When the family refused, the police locked the family in their home, and burned her body in a nearby field without the family’s presence citing law and order problem.
Preethi Lolaksha Nagaveni, Junior Fellow, writes how caste remains to be the root cause with untouchability being the ugliest form of casteism in India and makes a case for prosecuting the local administration for breach of law in the Hathras case.