Hathras Gang Rape Case
Hathras gang rape case TW // RAPE, BRUTALITY, CASTEISM, AND DEATH
On 14th September 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit woman, Manisha Valmiki was heinously gang-raped by four upperclassmen in Hathras when she was gathering fodder with her mother and brother. She was cutting grass on the field with her mother and brother. Her brother went home after some time leaving herself and her mother left behind. They were at an appreciable distance from each other and were out of each other's sight.
She was then strangulated from her dupatta and taken inside the banjara fields and gang-raped by four upper-classmen. After a bit, her mother realized the absence of her daughter and cried for help. After searching for hours, she was found unconscious, naked, and heavily mangled. Manisha's mother said, “My daughter was lying naked, unconscious, tongue protruded. Her eyes were bulging and she was bleeding from her mouth, neck, eyes, and vagina. I immediately covered her and started yelling.” Her brother claimed that it was pre-planned as those men were loitering around the field, waiting for an opportunity. SHE WAS STRANGLED, MUTILATED, TONGUE BEING SLIT OPEN AND MANGLED TO AN EXTENT UNTIL IT CAUSED PARALYSIS.
Her brother reported it to the Hathras police station, where they asked him to take Manisha to a local hospital, The local hospital again referred the family members to take her to the JNU medical college in Aligarh and her treatment began. On 28th September she was moved to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital where she, sadly, succumbed to this torture on 29th September 2020. The forensic report said that she had suffered from multiple fractures (cervical spine), paralysis, and a slit in her tongue. The horror was ceaseless even after how monstrous this was. What happened after?
Manisha mustered up the courage and gave an official statement on 22nd September 2020 and named the 4 rapists. Sandeep was arrested on 22nd September 2020 followed by the second accused Luvkush who was arrested on 23rd, Ravi on 25th, and Ramu on 26th of September 2020 and were booked under rape and murder.
How the officials reacted to this?/ Failure of the judiciary system.
1)Manisha suffered even more because of the police's ignorance after being taken to the hospital.
2)Dismissing the rape angle: The police denied that it was a rape case and opposed the presence of any injuries except for the neck fracture.
3)The family requested oxygen as Manisha was unable to breathe due to broken bones, it was delayed up to 4-5 days despite the urgency.
4)There were no mentions of gang rape in the medical report issued by the Aligarh Hospital.
5)CREMATION OF THE VICTIM'S BODY WITHOUT CONSENT. The police cremated the victim's body at 2:30 am in morning without the family's consent.
6)Former supreme court judge Maekandey Katju tried to justify rape after saying he condemned rape.
The victim's family begged the police to let them cremate the body according to the rituals in the morning or at least let them bid their last goodbyes to their daughter. Instead, the police locked the family inside their house and cremated the victim's body WITHOUT the family's permission. Manisha's mother said, “ We wanted to cremate our daughter with proper rituals. It is her last journey. My daughter will not come back.” The family was forbidden to grieve.
The police were trying to mask the truth, manipulate it to their advantage, not make it “politicized” and were scared about uncovering their own corruption instead of the victim's dignity, sufferings, and justice.“A land where Dalits cannot rule, they cannot rage, or even mourn.” ~ Meena Kandaramji, ‘Rape Nation'. Intersectionality of caste and rape: The Justice System is only accessible to people with power - In some parts of this country, it means belonging to an upper-class community or to possess money. Four Dalit women are raped every day. To be a Dalit and a woman in this country comes with a lot of harassment, both physical and mental also being treated as objects.
These women naturally fall victim to the systemic - vicious cycle of monstrosity and are expected to accept it and bear with it in silence. There are thousands of Dalit rape cases that get zero limelight. They are either ostracised by their own community or ignored by the government officials as they do not have the power to go against the upper caste. A psychological study claims that we empathize naturally only when we have a sense of social, cultural, traditional, and economic affinity with the victim systemic oppression and cruel violence happening with Dalit women are barely ever in the limelight.
Men rape women not because they are sex-deprived but because they not only want to control women but also deliberately preserve the caste system to their advantage and continue exploiting Dalits and lower-class people. It is used as a tool during class/caste conflicts. It's been 68 years since casteism was outlawed. This brought back a lot of limelight to the existing systemic casteism. Political parties look at this as an opportunity for political elections but I fear they will never ensure justice.
3 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:
Becoming informed and educated.
Spreading the word is the second big leap.
Empathizing with the emotional trauma of the victim, taking accountability, and redirecting our focus to the actual needs by amplifying their voices of these marginalized women. We have to do better than nugatory candlelight protests.
Writer - Charmy Savla Inspiration, inputs, editor - Hamza Ansari (Instagram - @Hamza_Ansari21) Sources: NDTV, Times of India, Swaddle, New Indian Express
Graphics - Jhem Picache