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A story of two castes, two crimes and two justice systems in India

It has been two months since a young Dalit woman was brutally raped and killed in Hathras, India and contrary to the government’s swift action in previous cases, little action has been taken since the arrest of the four men allegedly responsible. The 19-year-old was found in a paralytic state not far from her home in the village of Boolgarhi in September. She was first treated at a district hospital, then at JNMC hospital in Aligarh before being transferred to Safdarjung hospital. Before she died a few days later, she said four upper caste men raped and strangled her.

The four men are in custody, but since their arrest four Muslim men who traveled to Hathras to visit the woman’s family as a sign of support and sympathy have also been arrested on charges of sedition as it appears that the government of Uttar Pradesh wanted Muslim scapegoats. to distract from the rape case. Muslim men were raising funds for the victim’s family because, according to the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, the victim’s family are living under conditions similar to house arrest. The family also expressed their fear for his life once the official protection granted to him is withdrawn. Police called Muslim men’s interest in the victim’s family a terrorist plot to start caste riots over the rape and murder.

This crime, along with the subsequent conduct of the Uttar Pradesh police and government, has drawn attention to the plight of Dalit women in a country that still clings to its outdated and barbaric caste system. It turns out that the young woman who was allegedly gang-raped in September died in the same hospital where Jyoti Singh, a member of the upper caste of Bhumihar, died in 2012 after being gang-raped and tortured in a private bus in what came to be known as the Nirbhaya case which sparked an international outcry over sexual violence in India.

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