Rape Victim’s Body Forcefully (allegedly) Cremated by Police — State Government Denies Rape

The tragic incident of 2020 Hathras gang rape of a Dalit (“untouchable”) 19-year-old woman.

Samrat Dutta
Mar 11 · 10 min read
Source: Pexels.

Another day, another rape in India. But this one is probably the most horrific of them all. Just for your information, India recorded 88 rape cases every day in 2019. As per NCRB’s annual report titled “Crimes in India -2019” 11% were from the Dalit community (out of the total 32,033 reported rape cases in the year) [1]. Almost 4 women are raped every hour in India. A great country for women, right?

The Dalit community (Dalits are formerly known as “untouchables” in India) is one of the worst affected communities by this pandemic of rape. Yogita Bhayana of People Against Rapes in India (PARI), an organization that seeks to support rape survivors, told India Today,

“Women of Dalit communities are more vulnerable. They are under tremendous social pressure because of their cast. They hesitate to report rape cases. No one in the police station listens to them in most of the cases, even if they dare to lodge an FIR. This police apathy is mostly because of them being from the lower cast. It is high time to have a gender sensitization drive for police at every level.”

What happened in Hathras?

“She was lying on the ground, battered and bruised, barely conscious and naked from the waist downwards,” her mother later told the BBC [2]. After the victim’s mother called her son, she was brought to the Chandpa police station.

In a video shot there, bruises on her neck, face and hands are visible. In the 48 second long video, she appears to be in tremendous pain [2]. Police will later find out that her tongue was cut off. The victim also tells the police that they strangled her (“Gala daba diya”). When the police asked why, she said, “Because I did not let them force me” (“Zabardasti na karne de rahi taiku”) [3]. This video was then widely circulated all over social media platforms.

Just to be clear, “Zabardasti” literally means “By force.” Indian women, who often come from a poor background and do not know words like “rape,” often use “Zabardasti” or “Ganda kaam [dirty work]” instead of it.

The family also alleged that the police were delaying registering an FIR and even told them to take the victim away [3]. If the allegations are true (which might just be… ), it implies that the police were delaying and even refused to file an FIR despite the heavily injured victim reporting rape. The victim’s brother filed an FIR against Sandeep, one of the accused, under Section 354 of the IPC.

A report of BBC [2] says, “…neither of the young woman’s two allegations of rape, made within hours of being attacked, were entered into police records.

SR Darapuri, a former police officer and now vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in Uttar Pradesh said [2],

“There were very serious lapses on the part of the police. The police did not write a complaint — they instead asked her brother to do it. They did not include what the victim told them. They didn’t even call an ambulance to take her to hospital, even though she was in a precarious condition.”

The victim was admitted to the JNMC Hospital in Aligarh, after being referred by the district hospital because their local clinic did not have the facilities to treat her.

Victim’s statement

On the morning of 29 September, she died in the Delhi hospital, to which she had been transferred. But before that, when her condition turned critical, the hospital called a magistrate and she made a dying declaration on 22 September.

In the dying declaration, she named the other three accused — Luvkush, Ravi and Ramu — accusing them of sexual assault. They were arrested within the next few days after the police filed cases against all the accused under charges of gang-rape and attempt to murder. [3]

Eruption of Protests

Forceful Cremation

Police brought the body to the village at around 1 am. On 29 September 2020, at around 2:30 am, the body was cremated by the police while the whole nation slept. The family alleged that she was burnt forcefully.

The family wanted to bring the body home for one last time and wanted to do some rituals and say goodbye to their daughter for one last time. They begged in front of the police, but the police did not show any solidarity with the victim’s family. [4]

The father, mother and brother of the victim cried and folded hands in front of the police to get a chance to pay last respects to their daughter. They begged the police but the police stood stubborn.

Here’s a video that will be enough to shock you:

The family went to the District Magistrate to beg for their rights, an argument broke between the villagers and the DM. Some even alleged that the DM targeted the family and warned them not to indulge in any argument. Police cremated the body at around 2:30 while the relatives were locked up at their homes by the police. [4]

You can watch the video and hear the mother cry, but let me warn you that it will keep you up at night.

Ready to get more disgusted?

A report by India Today [5] says that the police mocked the family. They shamed and blamed them saying, “You should accept your mistakes too?”

If this doesn’t burn a hole in your heart, I don’t know what can. She was raped to death and burned forcefully.

Police kept denying rape

Since her death, the state government has insisted that she was not raped at all. In a series of off-the-record conversations, officials tried to deny or downplay the rape allegation. And reports in the Indian press said the state hired the services of a PR firm to press its denial.

What an utter shame it is for India that the police denied rape despite of the victim’s claim that she was raped till her last breath.

A senior police official, Additional Director General Prashant Kumar, said [2] that the woman’s family had not mentioned rape in the initial complaint, and cited a forensic report which said no semen was found in her viscera sample — a claim rebutted by experts who point out that an absence of semen in this sample does not rule out rape.

Without any shame, police kept claiming that the victim did not allege rape until 22 September (nine days after she was assaulted). But within some hours of the incident, just upon reaching the police station, she said that they strangled her when she did now allow them to do it forcefully, using the word “zabardasti.

“use of force” and “complete vaginal penetration with penis” was confirmed by a report by the hospital’s gynecologist who interviewed and examined the victim [2]. The gynecologist wrote, “On the basis of local examination, I am of the opinion that there are signs of use of force,” but the report deferred confirming penetrative intercourse until a forensic report had been completed [2].

What happened next?

The Wire’s [3] report states that,

Adityanath spoke to the family members of the victim via video conferencing. The state government announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 25 lakh, a house and a government job to kin of the deceased.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra scheduled a visit to meet the victim’s family at Boolgarhi village. But unfortunately, the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC in the village ruptured the action. Every village entrance was sealed, and it became impenetrable for the media to enter the village. The UP police took the family under strict surveillance by surrounding the house with an overwhelming number of officers and guards. Later on, the brother of the victim spoke about it. [3]

The security, or rather say, “panic-barrier” to keep Rahul and Priyanka away from meeting the family, didn’t stop here. Section 144 in Hathras was imposed, preventing their convoy at the UP-Delhi border, but, the siblings pushed it to reach out to this Dalit family by trying to walk over 100 km [6]. But again, the UP police stopped them on the Yamuna Expressway. Then eventually, they detained Rahul and Priyanka and escorted them back to Delhi [3].

Prashant Kumar, UP’s additional director general of police (law and order), stated [3], “No semen has been found in the forensic report. The FSL report has already clarified that there was no rape on the victim.” However, the experts contradicted the claim as the samples from the 19-year-old victim was taken after 11 days of the assault [3].

Further details of the girl’s torment were also revealed on the very day with the post-mortem report. It is found that repeated strangulation resulted in a fracture in her neck, and “indirect blunt trauma, and its resultant sequelae” injured her cervical spine (neck). They also added, attempts of strangulation caused the ligature mark over the neck, but it isn’t confirmed that it was the actual cause of her death. [3]

3rd of October, Rahul and Priyanka finally got permission to see the family. A few other representatives of congress were allowed for the visit as well. The media was able to enter due to the relaxation at last.

With the assurance of help, the family got visits from Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president Jayant Chaudhary, a Samajwadi Party delegation, and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azaad, including Rahul and Priyanka, within a few days [7].

The audacity of the accused

Just take a moment to grasp what you just read and think of the audacity of the victim. If you think the accused might really be falsely accused, just know that “use of force” and “complete vaginal penetration with penis” got confirmed by a report by the hospital’s gynecologist who interviewed and examined the victim. The victim and her brother were accusing Sandeep from the very first day and the victim confirmed it multiple times.

For those of you who don’t know, honour killing is the murder of a member of a family, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonour upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion with an honour culture.

Now, not only this, several men who belong to the Thakur community (an upper cast community), held large rallies in support of the accused, demanding justice for the accused. While you try to digest what you just read, let me tell you that a report by the BBC [2] also states that some of the party colleagues of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (one of India’s most controversial right-wing politicians, from the BJP) were also a part of these rallies in support of the accused.

Involvement of CBI

Final takeaway

The caste system and untouchability in India are the same as racism in the US. Maybe a little more intense. Officials kept denying rape possibly because she was from a Dalit family (this is speculation and I have no data to back this up).

We may boast about our culture worldwide, but where the women aren’t safe, the society is rotten. We have a lot to fix. Crimes against women and crimes against the Dalits belong to the “fix it right now!” category.

politeenical

Teenagers’ views on current politics.

Thanks to Fatim Hemraj

Samrat Dutta

Written by

Developer, designer, writer, data analyst, AI enthusiast. https://www.patreon.com/SamratDuttaOfficial https://www.instagram.com/samratduttaofficial

politeenical

A bunch of teenagers sharing their views on the current political scenario of India and the World.

Samrat Dutta

Written by

Developer, designer, writer, data analyst, AI enthusiast. https://www.patreon.com/SamratDuttaOfficial https://www.instagram.com/samratduttaofficial

politeenical

A bunch of teenagers sharing their views on the current political scenario of India and the World.

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