Members of 'Savarna Samaj' and Bajrang Dal agitate in Boolgarhi village in support of the Thakur men accused of the Hathras gang rape and murder case | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Members of 'Savarna Samaj' and Bajrang Dal agitate in Boolgarhi village in support of the Thakur men accused of the Hathras gang rape and murder case | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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Boolgarhi (Hathras): The four Thakur men accused of raping a 20-year-old Dalit Valmiki woman, who died later, in Hathras are not just “innocent” of the crime but are being “framed by the woman’s family for compensation”. They are “just paying the price for being upper castes”.

This is the overwhelming mood prevalent in Boolgarhi village, dominated by upper castes, in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh .

Thakurs are the largest community in Boolgarhi, while Brahmins are the second biggest group, at just about half the Thakur population, according to residents of the village with around 200 houses. The Valmikis — the Dalit community the woman belonged too — are minuscule in comparison, with just three families, all related to each other.

The Thakurs and Brahmins of Boolgarhi narrate a completely different version of the events of 14 September — the day the alleged gang rape took place. The woman was injured so badly that she died two weeks later at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.

According to the villagers, however, not only are the accused — Sandeep Thakur, his uncle Ravi Singh, Luvkush Thakur and Ramu Thakur — “innocent”, but the entire story is “politically driven” and the “media is biased”. They also claim it was the woman’s family members who killed her “for money”.

Everyone who narrates this version of the story, when asked how they know, gives a similar answer — “eyewitness accounts” of “unknown people”. And all of them have “heard” that the accused Thakur men were at different places at the estimated time of the crime.

“We stay well informed; we hear everything,” says Aman Rana, a Thakur and member of Right-wing group Bajrang Dal.


Also read: UP Police files FIR over conspiracy to trigger caste-based violence in Hathras


What the families of accused say

The families of the four accused insist they are paying the price for being upper castes. They claim the case against them is only to extract compensation under the SC/ST Act.

There is a reticence among them to state their names, but none in being photographed, and in claiming the Thakur men are innocent and being framed.

“Everyone knows how Dalits have always targeted upper castes using the ‘Harijan Act’. Thakurs are scared of these Valmikis. They use the Act as they like — to earn money and put us in trouble. Upper caste hona paap ho gaya hai aaj kal ki duniya mein (it’s a sin to be an upper caste in today’s world),” says Sandeep’s cousin, who does not want to be named.

Yahan par upper castes hi ko sataya jata hai (the upper castes are the ones troubled here),” the cousin adds.

A relative of Hathras gang-rape and murder accused Sandeep Thakur sits on the terrace of her house in Boolgarhi village, Hathras | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A relative of Hathras gang rape and murder accused Sandeep Thakur sits on the terrace of her house in Boolgarhi village, Hathras | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Asked where Sandeep was when the crime took place, the cousin says: “I don’t know that much, but he hasn’t done it. He’s a very good boy. Also, how can an uncle and nephew do such a thing together?”

Another person, who is Sandeep’s uncle and accused Ravi’s brother, says they are happy about the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government so far. “We are satisfied with the CBI inquiry (being announced). We want the girl’s family to undergo the narco-polygraph test because our children are innocent. This is a conspiracy to target us since we are Thakurs. They have done it for money,” he says.

Sandeep's uncle and Ravi's brother who did not wish to state his name, but had no problem being photographed | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Sandeep’s uncle and Ravi’s brother who did not wish to state his name, but had no problem being photographed | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

According to this uncle, who also doesn’t want to be named, Sandeep was providing water to their cows when the crime took place. He also thinks the woman’s family killed her for money, and refuses to acknowledge the girl’s ‘dying declaration’ in which she alleged gang rape. Instead, he insists the woman didn’t talk of “rape” in her first statement, but only about strangulation.

Meanwhile, accused Luvkush’s uncle — who also doesn’t want to give his name — says there was no rivalry between the families of the Sandeep and the woman, and that visits were frequent. “After 22 September, the drama has increased,” he says, alleging that there was an “affair” between the woman and Sandeep Thakur.

Luvkush’s father, a chowkidar, also claims his son is innocent. “He is very seedha-sada (simple).”

Accused Luvkush Thakur's father, a chowkidar, surrounded by members of his extended family | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Accused Luvkush Thakur’s father, a chowkidar, surrounded by members of his extended family | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

A Thakur man unrelated to the accused adds that his community “keeps the Valmiki community so nicely”, but still, “their complaints don’t end”.

“They do all this for money. I have heard that the girl’s family killed her and framed the upper caste men. These people can go to any extent for money,” adds the man.


Also read: SC asks UP govt about witness protection plan for family of Hathras ‘gang-rape’ victim


Brahmins on the same page

The Brahmins of Boolgarhi are standing firmly with the Thakurs on this matter.

“It is known that the men are innocent. The woman’s family is lying. Everyone knows that here, but they are scared to open their mouths. The family will file an SC/ST Act case,” says a Brahmin woman.

Brahmin women at a house in Boolgarhi village, Hathras | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Brahmin women at a house in Boolgarhi village, Hathras | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

The Brahmins say they are also “scared” of the Valmikis as many Thakurs have been “falsely framed” under the SC/ST Act in the last couple of years.

“We don’t want to suffer like them,” says a Brahmin man.

However, in a departure from the Thakurs’ claim that there was no personal enmity between the families of the woman and the accused, numerous members of the Brahmin community claim Sandeep’s family and the woman’s family have a long history of it, and that a scuffle broke out about two months ago between them over their “affair”.

When pressed for further details, they say none of them witnessed it but only “heard” that something like that had happened.

Caste divide in Boolgarhi

Like most villages in this part of the world, Boolgarhi has a clear caste divide — even geographically. Narrow lanes separate the Thakur, Brahmin and Valmikis’ houses, meeting to form a T-junction.

Thakurs and Brahmins insist that “casteism” has never played a role in their village, and that everyone is equal in their eyes. A mandir in the Brahmin lane, painted white, however, tells a different story — Brahmins and Thakurs are allowed, but the Valmikis aren’t.

The temple in Boolgarhi's Brahmin gali, at which Thakurs are allowed to worship, but not Dalit Valmikis | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The temple in Boolgarhi’s Brahmin gali, at which Thakurs are allowed to worship, but not Dalit Valmikis | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Thakurs and Brahmins own the agricultural land, while the Valmikis’ livelihood depends on cattle. Not many Valmikis have been to school. In fact, the woman’s family had told ThePrint how the “ill fate” of their daughter was driven by caste — they aren’t the “dabang Thakurs or Pandits”.

Now, these caste-lines have only got thicker. The upper castes are holding panchayats in favour of the accused, hailing the UP Police’s claim of “no rape” citing the Agra Forensic Science Laboratory report that mentions the absence of semen from samples taken eight days after the incident.

The upper castes have also staged a dharna, calling the accused Thakur men “innocent”, chanting “UP Police zindabad” and “Bhim Army murdabad”, about the Dalit-led organisation that has supported the woman’s family.


Also read: Congress listened, Yogi doesn’t — Why Hathras isn’t the same as Delhi 2012 gangrape case


 

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18 Comments Share Your Views

18 COMMENTS

  1. The piece does show a true picture. There are multiple false alarms in case of SC/ST Acts. The law is one of the few left which exists even though it does not ensure due process of law. You can often see such people warning others not to mess else there will be repercussions. Its true.

  2. My only doubt is if the accused boys are innocent then why the girl was burned into ashes at 1am and if their family are accused then why the policeman won’t answered the reporter on the spot.

  3. For all solutions, the caste system should be abolished, free education and medical facilities should be provided equally for all. Then all are Indians, there are no dalith or brahmin Indians.

    • How will it disappear? People will still look for partners within their own caste. Government cannot do much here. For Hindus, it’s all about preserving the purity of genes.

  4. Only CBI investigation will reveals the real truth whic involves the political influence of the national opposite party in this as per media report about payment of compensation to the vitimed girl family .No should be let out from cbi enquiry to unearth the truth of politically motived

  5. This version and the show of unity from the so-called upper caste people is clearly a tutored one, by all means. And this is a very dangerous development indeed !

  6. Supreme court has said that areas blocked during anti CAA PROTESTORS was illegal.

    Same anti HINDU proselytizers are trying to divide HINDUS fomenting trouble in HATHRAS.

    88 rapes take place in INDIA everyday. Each one is as worst as the other.

    Every victim deserves that justice be delivered.

    Criminals must not be allowed to take over protest.

    In case of HATHRAS or any place where a rape takes place. ALL POLICE OFFICIALS SHOULD BE DEMOTED . FINANCIAL PENALTIES ARE A GREAT MOTIVATOR .

    LOCAL MLA’S MUST BE DISMISSED. AS HE HAS FAILED TO PROTECT HIS ELECTORATE.

    ALL OVER INDIA SAME PENALTIES FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS SHOULD APPLY.

    SIMILARLY JIHADIST POSING AS JOURNALISTS SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED AND THEIR RHETORIC IGNORED.

    • Sanghi’s posing as Humans should be identified and put behind the bars for disturbing the harmony of the country. Manuwadi hay hay !

  7. This version and the show of unity from the so-called upper caste people is clearly a tutored on, by all means. And this is a very dangerous development indeed !

  8. What a claim that a family of a community so miniscule in number in the village, just 3 in 200 odd houses, threatening dominating and powerful communities like Thakurs & Brahmins to implicate them under SC/ST act! Only a fool can believe this and they want the entire country to believe! At least they could have come out with some other pretext which can be believed on.

  9. Brahmins, Thakur’s n upper caste boys must treat Balmiki n Dalit girls like their own sisters with due respect. Otherwise they will be compelled to convert to other religion out of helplessness and insecurity. Police shud keep this in mind and enforce law fearlessly to instill confidence. Failing which third rate politicians like Bhim Army Chandershekhar Ravana will try to fish in the troubled waters.
    Why only him… U have Rahul, Sitaram Yechuri, D Raja, Brinda , Derreck O,broin waiting in the wings.

    • Who, as per you, are first rate politicians, Mr Singhy? And what is your criteria of grading the politicians? Certainly, it is not serving the people selflessly and as per the constitutional spirit. Even, in this clearcut case of crime against the weaker section girl, you don’t abstain from dividing the society. Nation and the world will be better off without the thoughts and views that you entertain in your mind.

  10. It is a fact SC/ST act is being misused. It should be scrapped. Similarly, the concept of “Reserve Constituency” must be abolished through appropriate constitutional amendment. At the same time poorer section of the society ( that includes SC/ST) must be empowered through education, employment. The cost of education and living of poorer kids must be totally taken care of by the State.

    • Typical comments of a caste Hindu trying to dodge the casteism issue. He will deny caste based discrimination and violence exists. He builds a smokescreen of free education and employment from government but in reality he desperately wants that lower caste people should not be adequately represented in assemblies or parliament so that they cannot have say in corridors of power.

  11. Offence is the best form of defence It is beyond one’s imagination that a few valmiki families living near the powerful land owing brahmins and Thakurs will kill their own daughter just to get compensation under sc/ st act . The thinking itself is dirty, immoral and unethical

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