The Hathras horror has shown once again that Uttar Pradesh under the BJP-RSS rule of Yogi Adityanath has become a hotbed of crimes against women, with daily incidents of kidnapping, rape and murder. The political patronage given to criminals in UP has led to a jungle raj with goons moving around with impunity.
During the Unnao case, the CBI had explicitly stated that one IAS officer and two IPS officers were found guilty of dereliction of duty and action should be taken against them. But the UP state government has not taken any action against the erring officers, sending a clear message that crimes against women need not be taken seriously.
The BJP-RSS have always been strongly advocating their allegiance to the Manusmruti. UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath has clearly expressed his animosity for the schedule castes, schedule tribes, minorities and women in numerous speeches. It has given a signal that atrocities on these sections will not be taken seriously by the BJP state government. This has manifested in the increase in attacks on them, with the police turning a blind eye.
Along with that of the inhuman upper caste rapists, the role of the UP police has also been shocking and deplorable. Instead of showing some compassion to the inconsolable family of the Hathras victim, when they kept pleading to allow them to take their daughter home and carry out the cremation rites in the morning, the UP police advised that “Riti riwaaz samay ke saath badalte hain. Aur aap log maaniye ki aap log se bhi galti hui hai” (Rituals change with time and you should accept that you people too have committed a mistake). How could the arrogant police officials make this abhorrent comment! It is the protection by the RSS-led BJP government in UP that allows such gross injustice with impunity!
The only mistake of the victim’s family was that they belonged to the Dalit community at a time when Manu’s code was operating in Yogi’s UP.
Now to divert attention from its failure to prevent atrocities in the state, according to certain newspaper reports, the Yogi government has appointed a PR firm to create a false narrative and change the narrative to “there was no rape” and “this is an international conspiracy to incite caste and communal riots in UP”. Capitalism teaches only profit making. Hence it is not surprising that a PR firm should agree to accept a contract for spreading these falsehoods in an incident as heinous as the one that happened in Hathras.
Women, students, youth and many other organisations including Dalit platforms expressed their outrage in every part of the country. Spontaneous protests independently by AIDWA as well as jointly erupted in hundreds of places in Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Tamilnadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Punjab, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur. Protests are still continuing.
A militant protest was immediately held outside UP Bhavan in Delhi on September 30. The police severely manhandled the protesters and took them into custody. They confiscated all the placards and posters. The organisations included AIDWA, NFIW, AIMSS, SFI, AISF, AIDSO, DYFI, AIYF, AIDYO and Anhad. Among those who led the demonstration were Mariam Dhawale, S Punyavthi, Asha Sharma and Maimoona Mollah.
On October 2 morning, several women’s organisations organised a protest at Jantar Mantar. On the same day in the evening, a massive protest initiated by Swara Bhaskar and various organisations, groups and individuals was held at the same site. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and PB member Brinda Karat participated in this protest which was also attended by AIDWA national and Delhi state leaders, Teesta Setalvad, Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Chandrashekhar Azad and others. Many leaders of the opposition parties expressed their support.
AIDWA in Uttar Pradesh organised militant protests in various parts of the state despite police repression. AIDWA activists protesting in Lucknow were detained. Placards and banners were snatched away by the police. 300 women took out a procession in Jalaun.
Effigies of the Prime Minister were burnt in some places in Jharkhand and of the UP Chief Minister in Haryana. Cases were lodged against AIDWA activists in Gwalior for protesting without police permission. Torch and candle marches were organised in Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. An online protest was also organised collectively by various organisations on October 7.
A delegation of CITU, AIKS, AIAWU and AIDWA visited Hathras on October 4 and met the family of the rape victim. The report by this delegation has been released to the press.
Thousands of emails are being sent by AIDWA activists nationwide to the UP Chief Minister demanding his resignation. They state, “The BJP state government has failed in its duty to give security to women, dalits, adivasis, and minorities. Stop giving protection to criminals. Take stringent action against police and administrative officers for dereliction of duty. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath must resign.”
Emails are also being sent to the Prime Minister and Home Minister with the following matter: “The slogan of Beti Bachao has proved a jumla. Stop misleading women of India. Stop protecting criminals. We demand strong action against atrocities on women, dalits, adivasis and minorities.”