State Dalit Sangharsh Samiti-DK Stage Protest showing Solidarity to UP Gangrape Victim
- State Dalit Sangharsh Samiti-Dakshina Kannada chapter Staged Protest showing Solidarity to Gangrape Victim in UP, in front of Mini Vidhana Soudha, Mangaluru on Wednesday, 7 October 2020 at 11 am. “We can wear masks and live during corona but the way our daughters are unsafe is even more dangerous than corona,” said a senior woman protester.
Mangaluru: On 14 September 2020, four upper-caste men raped and assaulted the 19-year old Dalit woman in UP. She died in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on 29 September. After this, her family said that her body was hastily cremated at 2.30 am by police officials in Uttar Pradesh without their consent. The crime has sparked nationwide outrage against the administration of the Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Adityanath. The state police had even barricaded the village, refusing to let politicians or journalists meet the family. Hathras superintendent of police and four other police officials were suspended after the Special Investigation Team formed to inquire into the case submitted its initial report.
Some Dalit women speaking to Team Mangalorean demanded to know why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent on the matter. “When the Prime Minister can make us light candles and bang utensils then why is he silent now when an innocent young woman was gang-raped and later died?” asked Girijamma referring to Modi’s appeals to Indians to make these gestures to demonstrate gratitude to healthcare workers and show unity in the fight against the coronavirus. “Where is that chowkidar who said he is the country’s chowkidar?” she asked, referring to Modi’s promise that he would be India’s security guard. “Why is he not declaring punishment for the attackers of our daughters?” The inability of a Dalit woman to access justice in Uttar Pradesh was linked to vote-bank politics. “I am ashamed that the public of India has put him in the post of the Prime Minister where he cannot do anything to Yogi [Adityanath],” she said with tears.
Others said that Modi had not delivered on his electoral promises of guaranteeing women’s safety. “There is a video of Modi where he says that if you press the button on the lotus symbol and that it is guaranteed that your girl child is safe, something like this, many voted for this,” said a young Dalit woman at the protest, a resident of Padil, Mangaluru. Raghava, yet another protester criticizing the way UP government functions and its handling of this case said, “Uttar Pradesh state’s handling of the case was a joke and that it represented a “new low” in the continued oppression of Dalit women. Today the kind of example that has been set up by this Hathras rape case, I think in a state like UP and in other states, no other woman will dare to go to the police station to file an FIR if something of this sort happens”.
CPI leader Muneer Katipalla addressing the gathering said, “Women fear to walk on the streets and talk about matters of injustice in society, as they fear the rage, intimidation and victimization from the more vocal elements in our society. This fearful paradigm is further reinforced by the inconceivable, blatant, inhuman atrocities we have evidenced in Hathras. We live in 2020 and most importantly in a democracy with a constitution, yet fear and rape continue to be a major concern for women, Dalits and minorities. If we go into fear and continue to live in fear, the issues and priorities of women, Dalits, minorities and other vulnerable communities will be even more acute. It is only when the victim is mutilated and killed, we wake up. Enough is enough. We have to hold the perpetrators accountable so that such a thing never happens again. We have to build a society that is safe for our girls and women. It is our responsibility to stand up and demand justice for the Rape Victim from Hathras and the many Rape Victims’ whose plight never makes it out into the open. We demand Fast track judgement for the perpetrators of the crime with serious consequences equal to the crime committed. Let us continue our fight until justice is served to her family”.
Speaking at the protest Prof. Narendra Nayak – President of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations said, “The ghastly rape and murder of this young woman at Hathras shows the failure of the Central government as well as the UP government”. He reminded the protesters about the rape and murder of Sowjanya. which happened in 2013 at Dharamasthala in the same month (September). Nayak said though she was abducted in broad daylight the people who had witnessed it did not come forward to speak out.
“The manuvadi governments are always anti-Dalit and stand for the vested interests. Now the BJP governments at the center and UP are both trying to mislead the investigation and hush up the case. For Dalits to get the justice they should strive for political power and act as a strong pressure group. The manuvadi society will listen only when a strong voice comes up. It is time for all right-thinking people to support the movement for justice for this young rape victim and keep on fighting for it till the culprits are brought to book. It is not important as to which is the caste into which you are born but with whom you stand and fight for”, added Narendra Nayak.
Also addressing the protesters, P V Mohan-the member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) said, “The recent two incidents have really shaken the consciousness of the common people who had faith in democracy and Indian constitution. The ruling of the court in unjustly acquitting the conspirators of the Babri Masjid demolition, and the brutal gang rape and inhuman killing of a 19-year-old Dalit girl are the two biggest blots on the government and setback for secular values”.
P V Mohan further said, “The way they assaulted and killed the young woman by injuring her spinal cord, they also injured the spine of the constitution and democracy. It is not in our culture. In Hinduism, we give more prominence to women. It is said that where women are honoured divinity blossoms. It is in Hindutva women are treated as slaves. Manu Smrithi says ‘Women don’t deserve freedom’. Hindutva proponents are Taliban’s of India Rapist culture is not Indian culture. After the Modi regime, atrocities against women have increased. 87 rapes are reported every day. 10 Dalit women are raped every day in India. BJP is the biggest pandemic that will finish the country soon unless everyone fights together against injustice. They are ruling through creating fear amongst marginal sections and spreading and doing the politics of hate to corner minorities”.
After the protest, member of DSS, namely Raghu K Yekkaru, M Devdas, Mrs Sarojini Bantwal, M Somashekhar, among others submitted a memorandum to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, through the Deputy Commissioner of DK, Dr K V Rajendra.