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Hathras Horror: Brutality Doubles Down If Victim Is From Marginalised Sections

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Gender-based violence are generally attributed to the patriarchal mindset of the society. Patriarchal mindset plays very crucial role in inflicting violence against the women. Apart from patriarchy, there are many factors which play their role in promoting sexual violence against the women. Caste prejudices are also among those factors.

When the culprits find the victim marginalized, they took it as an opportunity to commit sexual crimes against her. Seeing the vulnerability of the victim, the criminal feels emboldened to carry out sexual assaults. Therefore, the women of the marginalized castes Dalits, Adivasi are more vulnerable to sexual assaults than upper-caste women. The women of the privileged class have more chance to avail the legal protection and justice than that of lower caste and class. Sometimes, the lowercaste women are raped to remind them their status in the society. These are caste aspects to the violence against women which does not become a matter of discussion in public discourse.

The brutal gang-rape and murder of 19-year-old Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras underlined the caste aspect of the rape incidents along with murder. Many uppercaste people deny the caste factors of the rape. When the outrage drew on the social media over the horrific incident of Hathras highlighting the rape of Dalit girl, an upper caste liberal woman journalist said that people should not talk about caste aspect of the Hathras incident. She said a rape is a rape, people should not reduce it to upper and lower caste. In response to her, somebody said that a crime is crime. People should not reduce it to gender. The point is that if you are highlighting the gender aspect of rape, why are you not ready to talk about caste aspect of rape. Why are you denying the fact that caste also plays its role in sexual crimes against women?

The reaction of upper castes to the rape of Dalit women when the accused are from their community also tells a lot about the caste aspects of the rape. As happened in Hathras incident where people from upper caste gang-raped a Dalit girl, the upper castes rallied behind the accused. They did not show sympathy towards victims. The people from Hathras victims’s village are angry with the victim’s family that they brought disrepute to the village.

“She’s ruined our village’s name… brought such disrepute. Who will marry their daughters into this village now?” a Thakur resident of the village was quoted by Indian Express. However, they are not angry with the culprits who gangraped the girl and murdered her.

 The way upper-caste people from her village reacted to the horrific rape-murder and the way the police and the administration shown its indifference in the case clearly point to the casetist behavior of the society. When the mother went with grievously wounded daughter to the police to complain about the incident, the police reprimanded the mother for bringing her wounded to them. The policemen reportedly said to mother that do you want to implicate them in the rape case? The fact is that if any crime is committed, the victim will go to the police for help. But here, the police shown scorn for the victim rather than helping the victim. The police’s cruel apathy towards the rape-murder of a Dalit girl is clearly seen in their actions. After denying the help to the victim, another cruel mistake was committed by the police in taking the victim to the hospital where she was not referred to. The Aligarh medical hospital where the victim was undergoing treatment had referred the victim to the AIIMS but the police took her to the Safdarganj medical.

The victim was denied with the dignity not only when she was alive but also when she was dead. The police burned her without taking permission from the family. Even the family was deprived of their right to cremate their own daughter. They were deprived of mourning her death. This is the fate the Dalit has to face because of their caste identity.

Many people are comparing the brutality unleashed on the Hathras victim to the Nirphaya of 2013. But the comparison is not completely true. The Hathras victim had to face brutality even after the death. But in case of Nirphaya, it is not the case. In Nirhaya’s case, no one took out rally in support of the accused. Her copses was cremated properly. His family was given support by the government. But in Hathras’s case, the victim’s family is facing a hostile government as well as the hostile upper caste people. Nirbharya and her family had received sympathy from all quarters. In the case of Hathras victim, this is not the case.

The hostility towards the victim’s family reflects the utmost level of cruelty. This is the fate of only marginalized castes and minorities. The similar hostility was faced by the Kathua victim and her family. The Kathua victim was Muslim. Hence, the BJP supporters took out Tiranga rally in support of the rape accused. The brutality unleashed by the rapist on the minor victim was horrendous and inexplicable. Yet, the right wing supporters rally behind the culprits. Hence, the treatment given to the victim of marginalized sections of the society is completely different to the privileged section of the society. The cruelty against the marginalized is doubled down by the upper-casted dominated society.

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