The police forces imposed emergency laws in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh where a 19-year old Dalit woman was allegedly gang raped. The victim succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday after fighting for her life. The police reportedly cremated the woman’s body against the wishes of her family and speaking to Reuters, the victim’s brother stated that they wanted to perform her funeral rites privately, but the police did not respect their wishes and went ahead with the cremation. Though the local police authorities denied the statement, widespread clashes broke out in the district, forcing the authorities to impose emergency laws to control the dissent. The police have arrested twenty-five people in connection to the unrest in the district.
The latest case saw widespread outrage among the citizens from all parts of the country due to the social backgrounds of the victim, hailing from a lower caste and the four arrested who are allegedly from upper social sections of the society. Leaders of the Opposition Congress Party, along with Chandra Shekar Azad who is a well-known Dalit politician and founder of the Bhim Army are currently en route to visit the district and speak to the victim’s family. However, under the declared emergency laws, the police have been given orders to prevent the gathering of more than 5 people in the district. Vikrant Vir, the top police official in the district reportedly told Reuters that the police will stop any members of political organisations from entering the district.
The state reported yet another rape case on Thursday a day after the Hathras rape case. Uttar Pradesh also ranks as one of the most unsafe states for women in the country.