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Dalit woman raped and murdered in Hathras died another death in UP Police’s forced cremation

While the Hathras gangrape and murder is not an isolated incident, the responses of the Yogi Adityanath-led government and UP Police to it speak of the resentment against calls for social justice.

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The horrific cremation of the Hathras Dalit woman by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the dead of the night after locking up her family is a blatant effort to silence the case — not very different from what the alleged rapists did to her by strangulating her. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh is seeing a re-emergence of toxic power play, one in which the police acts as a feudal force with brazen impunity. And a poor Dalit woman is the weakest link in this power hierarchy. This cocktail of upper caste masculinity, the brute force of the police, and many regressive reactions to the crime is working to reverse decades of social justice struggles.

Every system of injustice gains its legs from the silent privileged supporters. Here too, it’s the privileged ‘upper caste’ who ultimately help create grounds for caste-based atrocities. They either actively come out in support of the perpetrators because of caste alliance or they are reluctant to identify the caste identity of the perpetrators, both of which were witnessed in the Hathras case.

This nexus invariably seeks to invisibilise the privilege that the ‘upper castes’ enjoy in India. And it acts more aggressively when the power structure is challenged — which is what the modern-day Bahujans are seeking to do. Whether it’s the vocal Dalits on social media or parties like Chandrashekhar Azad’s Bhim Army, the challenge to the Brahminical structure of India’s caste-ridden society is more visible and loud now. This unnerves the beneficiaries of the hierarchical structure.

While the Hathras gangrape and murder is not an isolated incident, the Adityanath government and the UP Police’s response to it does speak of the culmination of a long-standing resentment against calls for social justice.

Also read: Hathras Dalit woman, who was gang-raped and assaulted, dies at Safdarjung Hospital

Rape is assertion of power

Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju said in a Facebook post that rape incidents like Hathras happen because young men in India are unemployed and unmarried — putting it down to their “natural urge” to indulge in sex.

Similarly, many people on Twitter were against pointing out that the 20-year-old woman in Hathras was a Dalit. ‘Rape is rape, why bring caste into it,’ goes their argument.

Rape is neither about sexual urges nor about what the woman was doing or wearing. It is always about power, domination and control. And in the Indian context, it translates into caste.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), four Dalit women are raped every day in India. And in most cases, there is no conviction. In the Hathras case, the UP Police didn’t even register the FIR for 10 hours. To ignore caste or vilify those who speak about it, is a product of discomfort that comes from any challenge to the privileges enjoyed under the caste-based hierarchical structure of the Indian society.

Also read: There can be no modern India without an improved police force — think tank urges for reforms

‘Ram rajya’, an upper caste fantasy

Despite being a constitutional democracy with an elected government, there is constant talk of bringing in ‘Ram Rajya’ to India. But the country is ruled by its Constitution and the various laws, so what is this ‘Ram rajya’ that seeks to replace or assert its control?

‘Ram rajya’ is an ‘upper caste’ male fantasy. It doesn’t involve the Bahujans or India’s minorities. The assertion about ‘Ram rajya’ comes largely from the ‘upper castes’ who take strength from the fact that a religious invocation in modern-day India will face little challenge.

But because India’s caste system is a Brahminical order, the ‘Ram rajya’ also essentially becomes a way to impose this Brahminical system on the Indian society at large, without any perceived challenge to it.

The ‘Ram rajya’ fantasy fulfils the desires of the traditional ruling ‘upper castes’ because only they can identify with the lords. They even claim to be descendants of those lords. A Dalit man can never claim to be a descendant of Rama. A Dalit woman can never claim the position of Sita. All the talk of ‘Ram rajya’ is just to boost the cultural power of ‘upper caste’ males. Dalits and OBCs are made to be subservient in this with the invocation of Rama.

The Hathras case and the shameful behaviour of the UP Police has once again exposed the caste-driven hatred in India. If the country is to remain a democracy, Dalits will have to demand representation in power. If an SIT is established to investigate this case, there must be representation of Dalit officers and leaders or activists. Without representation, it will all be a sham and everything will play out according to the fantasies of the ‘upper castes’.

Views are personal.

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  1. Why this third rated author links every rape on women from caste angle, any rape is condemn able and punishable. Any media persons report rapes in the name of caste shall be booked and punished. Let us respect women, let us not discriminate this brutal attack on women on caste.

  2. Mr Sangram Das:

    You miss a critical aspect of rapes, not only in India but also in other societies or situations where social, racial or caste hierarchies are violently implemented. Rape, in many situations, is nothing but demonstration of power over someone weaker or vulnerable.

    You forget that caste is an important mechanism for the perpetration of social hierarchies in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal etc. And that caste, like other positions of power can sometimes create perpetrators of rape and victims of rape. Rape, seen from this vantage point is a violent, naked expression of upper caste male power on lower caste or Dalit women.

    Thus, during the Godhra riots of 2002 and the Sikh pogroms of 1984, one witnessed mobs where men were motivated by the need to exert naked power through rape. These rapes were not driven by lust. And rural India shows ample evidence of upper caste men treating Dalit women as objects to be subdued and be subservient to the power that caste confers on the former.

    Indeed, citing India’s own national statistics, the US State department observed:

    “ .. statistics indicated that, compared with other caste affiliations, rape was most highly reported among Dalit women,” and that “Lack of law enforcement safeguards and pervasive corruption limited the effectiveness of the law .. ”

    Thus, your statement:

    “.. India never entertain or support castism rather we belive an equality and democracy ..”

    is ludicrous to say the least.

    The Ram Rajya paradise that Hindutva types like you dream of does not extend to Dalits.

  3. A horrific incident indeed. While atrocities against women and dalits remain shameful reality of our society, the writer of this story clearly has her own vicious political agenda. She is hell bent on trying to convince that this gruesome criminal act happened due to ideal of ‘Ramrajya’. As if a political party, which follows the ideology of Hindutva, hadn’t been at the helm of power in UP, this incident wouldn’t have been occurred. Perhaps all was well when a so called socialist and secular party, Samajwadi Party was in power there, whose supremo Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav while shamelessly opposing strict punishment to rapists, tried to trivialise issue of such heinous crimes by saying ” Ladkon se galtee ho jaatee hai,”. The Print, don’t try to feed us such political garbage in the name of journalism.

  4. Its not about upper caste or lowe caste. Rape is rape.. no matter which caste did to which caste. Stop making this caste agenda.. if journalism too make this political issue who will give the neutral news in front of public. Police nd government in UP are clearly trying to hide something from media and public. It is clear that something happened very wrong. I know in end no justice will serve . People will forget this too. Criminals will get bail. Every rape- murder should get punishment hang till death.

    • Ms Neha:

      Dalit women figure far too often as victims of rape at the hands of upper caste men for the issue to be pooh-poohed. Rape is one of the instruments of caste based suppression of lower caste and Dalit women. There is no getting away from that.

  5. Which world is writer lives, is rape is not happen in US or Europe. It only matters punishment is happening independence or not. What is this uppere cast , Lowe xast cast nonsense. She is totally rubbish and we don’t expect these type of nonsense article on Print. Is this lowering your quality check standard.

  6. I came across a comment which says that rape is not a sequel urge or it has nothing to do.with what a woman is wearing …
    Sorry to point out that clothes also are a major reason for such heinous crime to take place..
    Humans have a tendency to be hyper to see what is more revealing and if u can see thru …all social media platforms are full of such dirty naked videos specially by females …. which adds to the spark for such crimes…. if all u can do is stop all such acts on social media platforms and make it more better to view …. revealing clothes make it more vulnerable for such dirty sick minded people to throw their urge on innocent females and then make them mentally ill if left unpunished….

    • Ashwini, Your comment is evil and vile and 100% wrong. If a man wears a nice diamond ring does that mean someone should steal it from him because they want it? A rapist will rape because they are severely deranged. They need to be on an Island with other rapists away from everyone. If a man can’t control himself around women, he must keep away from women. This violence against women needs to stop now.

  7. Ram Raj or Rakshas Raj?
    People and their leaders have repeatedly failed to uphold the ideals of a dharmic nation.
    If modesty and lives of even young girls are unsafe, let the failed concept of India die!
    Let new dharmic nation(s) be born in its ashes!

  8. I totally agree with you
    The suffering is same whether the women is dalit r any other
    N the cheap politics happens behind casteism is the worst thing happening in our country
    Don’t even want to start about media…they r worst than the politicians

  9. I read Katju’s tweet. Usually, Katju is sensible. But here he is missing the point.

    His analysis is based on growing population, not enough jobs, in fact jobs have been lost, and men need s’x once adult. That is not a totally invalid argument based on economics.

    However, it is missing out on India’s core problem : the Hindu caste system. The caste Hindus feel they are entitled to rape Dalits, and the police and govt. is on their side, and nobody can touch them.

    For the Dalits, I would advise them to take heed of Ambedkar’s analysis and advice : he wrote that Hinduism cannot be reformed of the caste system, the swarnas cling to caste, and the only solution is conversion. Congress gave some reservation, Hindutva can give you a position as foot soldiers to fight Muslims. You will be hired as kar sevaks, but you will be burnt by the same RSS fellows on trains, and you will be used to attack Muslims. After the riot, only the swarnas will be in the corridors of power. Dalits were killed in the Babari demoiliton, and after they build the temple, you will be standing outside.

    Ambedkar had written : I was born a HIndu, but I shall not die as a Hindu.

  10. Bull crap …SG pls don’t entertain such such people in your organization…this woman always writes absolute nonsense. Last time she made some distasteful remarks against Biharis. Her caste and regional prejudices cannot be allowed under the guise of independent journalism.

  11. [The ‘Ram rajya’ fantasy fulfils the desires of the traditional ruling ‘upper castes’ because only they can identify with the lords. They even claim to be descendants of those lords. A Dalit man can never claim to be a descendant of Rama. ] Would be good if you put some reference of it from Vedas. Without Reference it is not making sense to me…
    We all (4) are from God only there is nothing call descendant of God… Sorry

  12. Dominant section will keep on doing atrocities on weak. But ma’am ever wondered or wrote how and why those who were supposed to represent Dalits and OBC s are silent. Their silence and capitulation is also telling some story.

  13. Why media is mentioning about caste in news . Here u mentioned Dalit women raped . It’s not good. Change your news first . Justice should be same for any one.

  14. This was a dastardly act done by the culprits.

    Having said that culprits will be given justice on their way to jail in the UP police car.

    What matters is these were Hindu women.

    They didn’t get justice when alive but rest assured will be given justice on their death.

  15. You first need to do some research on Ram Rajya. Rama rajya is an ideal way of ruling where people of all castes are happy and content. And lord Ram is ideal for all, not just for brahmins. For that matter, he was a kshatriya, a warrior. Stop your nonsense of associating caste discrimination to Ram rajya, Your article is for the those ignorant of hinduism or Lord Ram. So probably you are trying to appease some other religions which try to establish themselves by showing hinduism in poor light. You are definitely not unbiased media. Your bias is very very obvious.

  16. Mr Markandeya Do you mean after food the most required thing for human body is sex ??
    you should start educating people how to Masturbate not Rape then .
    Teach them how to Meditate.

  17. The Author writes “A Dalit woman can never claim the position of Sita.”

    But what exactly was the position of Sita in ram rajya considering the episodes of exile and agnee pareeksha.

  18. You are writing nonsense; and then talk of good journalism, while working on sensationalizing, dividing and anti-administration news. I don’t think I have to read your trash. You should have minimum sense to understand that a) If police did it, (if it is true; because people in general won’t buy all from the shit-fountains like sentimentalization), police will have a reason. That may include security, emotionally triggered acts that may be bad for society, etc. Are you sure that the police did it without considering the law and order…
    Sorry; your news is like getting into a shit-pool.

    • Imagine yourself in place of that helpless mother before going on with your rant. If it was your sister or daughter or mother and you are not even allowed to say goodbye to her for one last time then I would guess the sentiment will be completely different.

      • Very well formulated Mr Tarun.

        Indeed, it is people like Mr Pillai, educated backers of corrupt policemen and their political masters like Adityanath who catalyse India’s descent into fascism and anarchy. Like the vile, corrupt police of UP, they too bend backwards to defend their political masters and the fascist ideology called Hindutva, victims be damned. And had not news of this incident made headlines, the bigot who runs UP i.e. Adityanath would not even have bothered to come up with compensations to the family. After all in the BJP’s worldview, Dalit & Muslim lives are worthless in the overall electoral caste calculus.

        Incredible India indeed.

    • Mr Gopinathan Ramachandran Pillai:

      I find it mind boggling that presumably educated people like you would stick their heads into the sands like ostriches and refuse to read the ominous writing on the wall. And endorse the nefarious activities of one of India’s most corrupt police department in one of India’s most backward state run by one of the world’s most bigoted politicians. In case it did not register Mr Pillai, I am talking of UP’s Police department and its saffron, atavistic, hate speech spewing CM Ajay Mohan Bisht a.k.a. Adityanath.

      Fact is Mr Pillai, not releasing the body of the deceased person back to the family is an inhumane act in itself, leave alone the legal aspects of the issue. Family members are denied one last chance to look at their loved one, perform their own religious rites and bring closure of some sorts to this horrific tragedy.

      You hypothesise that the police may have taken into consideration “ security, emotionally triggered acts that may be bad for society” and so on when they decided to cremate the victim in secrecy. But Mr Pillai, you forget that not even the police resort to using the excuses you put forth ! Indeed, going by the venal history of the UP Police, its nexus with upper caste outfits and its actual masters who happen to be the BJP and not the people of UP, one must conclude that this has been done to protect the upper caste vote banks of the BJP. And for suppression of evidence.

      But what is truly distressing is that an educated South Indian man like you condones and encourages this descent into barbarism. Indeed, armchair fascsists and backers of the bigoted Adityanaths of this world are far more dangerous than the lumpen elements that actually carry out the orders of their fascist leaders.


    • Its not about upper caste or lowe caste. Rape is rape.. no matter which caste did to which caste. Stop making this caste agenda.. if journalism too make this political issue who will give the neutral news in front of public. Police nd government in UP are clearly trying to hide something from media and public. It is clear that something happened very wrong. I know in end no justice will serve . People will forget this too. Criminals will get bail. Every rape- murder should get punishment hang till death.

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