Hathras Gang Rape Was Not The First. There Is A List Of Heinous Crimes Against Dalit Women
A 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras was gang-raped and brutally beaten. After fighting a long battle, the rape survivor succumbed to the injuries on September 29. This incident of Dalit rape and murder has sent shockwaves across the nation. Many people spoke up in protest of the incident and failure of the administration to curb such violence against women. Unfortunately, this is not the first incident in which a woman was victimised because of gender and caste. We need systems in place to check caste based violence against women. Here’s a list of heinous crimes against Dalit women.
January of 2020, Modasa, Gujarat
A 19-year-old Dalit woman who was the second year commerce student left her house on January 1 to fill forms for a computer course. Two to three days passed, but the woman didn’t return. On January 5, the woman’s body was found hanging by the banyan tree at the entrance of the village. After investigation, it was revealed that the woman was abducted by Rabri caste men, sodomised, murdered and hanged to make the incident appear as a suicide.
August 2020, Lakhimpur District, UP
A 13-year-old Dalit girl reportedly went to relieve herself in a farm. But the farm was declared free of open-defecation in 2018 itself. As a result, two men, one of which was the owner of the farm, abducted the girl. They raped her, caused injuries to eyes and tongue and strangled her to death.
Mid-August 2020, Lakhimpur Kheri District, UP
An 18-year-old Dalit girl went out to fill admission and scholarship forms for school and then went missing. Later, her body was found dumped near a pond and mutilated by animals. After the investigation, it was revealed that the girl was brutally raped, killed and dumped in the field. This incident happened in the district within a week of the aforementioned case in Lakhimpur district.
August 2020, Bihar
A Dalit woman was raped by a Muslim youth for over four months. The accused had threatened the woman to kill her if she tries to report against him. A few months after the rape, the woman was pregnant. Then she informed her sister-in-law about the rape and her brother reported the case to the police.
May 2020, Rajasthan
A 17-year-old Dalit girl felt abdominal pain and was taken to the doctor. It was revealed that the girl was 17-weeks pregnant. Reportedly, around four months ago, the girl recalled, she was dragged to a mustard field in a village and gang-raped by three men.
December 2019, Unnao district, UP
A Dalit rape survivor was about to board a train to attend a court hearing on her gang-rape happened a year ago, December 12, 2018. Just then a group of five men which included two men who raped her set the woman ablaze for filing a case. Reportedly, they brutally beat and stabbed her. And then she was doused with kerosene oil and set on fire. In fact, she kept calling out for help and walked a kilometre in the burnt state to call the police herself. Unfortunately, the survivor succumbed to 95 per cent burn and injuries.
The cases recorded here only cover those that happened in the past year. There are many more cases that happened and were forgotten. Some were not even reported. While some women who dared to report were punished for crossing their limits and raising a finger against men of power. The major reason is the internalisation of caste-based patriarchy that marginalises women based on their caste and gender.
Are we just going to report and record cases like this on the day when suddenly one of the Dalit or women rape cases caught media traction and incited sympathy and anger? What about the other women who died waiting for the same wokeness and support? Is it still not time for us to speak against the Dalit discrimination and subordination of women in general?
Can we take at least the Hathras gang-rape as a lead for us to recognise the caste basis of crime against women? Because until and unless caste structure is demolished in India, it will remain the unquestioned dictator silently killing innocent lives, not women alone.
Let us make it a point that no woman should suffer in silence because of her gender or caste. Let us decode and abolish each layer of patriarchy that imposes control on society. Let us break the privileged silence and speak up against caste-discrimination and other issues even if they don’t affect us directly. And if we are a part of the caste-discrimination, let us not turn blind eyes to crime happening next door. Let us remember that every crime, whatever be its root, is an inception of a society that is rooted in injustice and discrimination which will hunt us the next morning, if not questioned.