UP’s Walk of Shame: In Balrampur, Another Rape & Death of a Dalit Woman, Days After Hathras Horror

Gender

UP’s Walk of Shame: In Balrampur, Another Rape & Death of a Dalit Woman, Days After Hathras Horror

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As the country struggles to wrap its head around the events that have transpired in Hathras, UP, over the last two weeks, another gruesome rape was reported in Balrampur district, 500 kilometres away. A 22-year-old Dalit woman lost her life after she was brutally assaulted and raped on Tuesday evening, even as the rest of the country was taking to the streets to protest the Hathras incident.

The young woman, a second year BCom student went missing on Tuesday morning, when she had gone to pay her college fees. The family said she was abducted on her way back home, and brutally raped by at least two men.

The woman reportedly returned home that day in a rickshaw, unconscious. Both her legs and her arms were broken, and an IV line was stuck in her arm. Her family rushed her to the hospital, but she lost her life on the way. All she managed to say in that time, according to her family, was, “I am in a lot of pain, I won’t survive.”

In a story eerily similar to the Hathras incident, the woman’s body was cremated immediately after the post mortem, in the middle of the night. In the Hathras case, the family of the victim claimed that her body was cremated under pressure from the police.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the Balrampur crime, but the police have said that there was no evidence that her legs or her back were broken. The alleged rapists, according to the police, had attempted to treat her with the help of a local doctor before sending her back home, explaining why she had an IV line in her arm.

The similarities between both crimes, and the fact that the Balrampur incident took place as the outrage over the Hathras case had reached its climax, however, has led some to believe that it could have been a copycat crime.

Advocate Karuna Nandy was among those who made the connection, calling for media houses to be more careful about how rape cases are reported to avoid such incidents in the future. She shared the Press Council of India guidelines on reporting on suicide for reference, which emphasises that reports must not “explicitly describe the method used”.

Pressure has, meanwhile, been mounting on the UP government and police following these two gruesome rape cases, which are among thousands that go unreported in the country every day. At this point, it’s safe to say that India is no country for women.

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