The letter demands that the UNHRC set up an international inquiry into the Hathras rape case and other sexual assaults and crimes against women
INDIANS associated with over 60 diaspora groups in the United Kingdom have urged the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (UNHRC) Michelle Bachelet to ask Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to dismiss Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in view of the outrage over the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl last month by four upper-caste men in Hathras district of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state.
The signatories of the open letter are members of the diaspora groups like CasteWatch UK, South Asia Solidarity Group, National Valmiki Sabha, NRI UK, London Black Women’s Project and several Ambedkar International Missions in different countries.
The letter demands that the UNHRC set up an international inquiry into the Hathras rape case and other sexual assaults and crimes against women, particularly Dalit and oppressed-caste women in UP since the Adityanath government came to power in the state.
The letter is reproduced here verbatim:
To the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet
Dear Ms Bachelet,
We are writing to you to express our deep sense of shock and dismay at the terrible events unfolding in Uttar Pradesh, India and to urge you to take action as outlined below.
On 14 September, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped and assaulted with inhuman violence in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Her spine was broken, paralysing all her limbs, her body grievously bruised and her tongue was brutally wounded.
The four men who had raped and assaulted her were oppressor- caste Thakurs who dominated the village she lived in–a place which continues to practise ‘untouchability’. They had allegedly been ruthlessly harassing her for a considerable length of time, to the extent that she was afraid of leaving her home.
But worse was to come. The UP police, initially reluctant to register a case against the four accused, left her lying on the concrete floor of the police station and when she was eventually taken to a hospital, she was left in a generic ward. Only after pressure built up was she transferred to the ICU and later to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she passed away on 29 September.
But even this scale of cruelty was not enough for the police and administration of UP and the local government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath which gives them their orders. On the night of 30 September, they took away her dead body. Her mother’s pleas to be allowed one last look at her were ignored. Then, barricading her family in their house so they could not attend or perform funeral rites, the police forcibly and hurriedly cremated her body at 2:30 am to erase all evidence in the case.
Not isolated events
What is most shocking is that far from being an isolated crime, this is part of a systematic attack on women and oppressed castes. Three other sexual assaults and deaths of women and girls took place in UP hardly 24 hours after the Hathras victim’s remains had been consigned to flames by the UP police. In Balrampur, a 22-year-old Dalit woman was raped and murdered. In Bhadohi, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was found dead, her face disfigured and head battered–rape is suspected–and in Azamgarh, an 8-year-old girl was raped.
While attacks on Dalits and women have escalated vastly all over India since 2014, when the Hindu-supremacist Modi regime with its entrenched casteist and misogynist ideology came to power, the Adityanath government in UP has seen by far the largest number of attacks and atrocities.
For example, in 2019, India reported 4,05,861 cases of crimes against women with Uttar Pradesh topping the list with 59,853 such incidents, according to India’s annual National Crime Record Bureau’s “Crime in India” 2019 report. As for the atrocities against Dalits and other oppressed castes, they, too, have escalated vastly and oppressor castes have been allowed to act with total impunity.
For example, according to the National Crime Record Bureau figures, in 2016, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of atrocities against Dalits–26% of all cases reported.
We are deeply concerned about where this is leading India and more specifically the state of Uttar Pradesh.
We hope you are able to take action:
- Urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dismiss Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
- Set up an international inquiry into the Hathras rape case and other rapes and crimes against women, particularly Dalit and oppressed-caste women in UP since the Adityanath government came to power in the state.