Rape Victim’s Death Sparks Protests in India
The death of a 19-year-old woman from the lowest rung of India’s caste system who was raped by a group of men has triggered protests in the capital, New Delhi.
The teenager, authorities believe, was brutally assaulted by four upper caste men in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on September 14.
Her case adds on to a long list of rape crimes against women in India, a country where rape is reported nearly every 15 minutes, according to 2018 government data. In that year alone, 34,000 rape cases were reported.
About 10 months ago, a 23-year-old Dalit woman died after being set ablaze by a gang of men as she made her way to a court in Uttar Pradesh to press rape charges.
Authorities said Monday, the latest victim was brought from a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state to New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she died while undergoing treatment, authorities said.
The woman, one of India’s 200 million low-caste Dalits or “untouchable” as they are known, have long complained of discrimination under the law because of prejudice against the lowest caste.
Protesters angered by her death thronged the hospital premises Tuesday, where they blocked road traffic and confronted police.
Reuters reports that Dalits rights activists from the Bhim Army chanted slogans near the hospital’s mortuary. Its leader Chandra Shekhar Aazad asked Dalits across the country to flood the streets to demand the perpetrators are hanged.
Meanwhile, police have since arrested four men in connection with the crime, helping to assure investigations into the crime will be swiftly conducted.