The National Council of Churches in India condemns the alleged gang rape and assault of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh leading to her death. The barbaric torture led the victim to undergo an enormous amount of mental, emotional, and physical suffering, and damage to her dignity. She died two weeks after being raped and tortured. Atrocities against women have increased in India and, in this case, the victim was a Dalit. She was denied basic dignity even in her funeral. Denial of a dignified funeral was the ultimate turmoil for the family of the victim. This act exposes the vulnerability of women in India and especially the women belonging to the discriminated sections of the society such as the Dalits, Adivasi, and tribal people.
The alarming torture and gang rape of a girl cannot be ignored as the incident raises serious concern about the security of women and girls in society and, more importantly, the rising toxic masculinity as an assertion of power. We cannot ignore the alleged cutting off of the girl's tongue, which is a sign to silence a person and their community. We cannot remain silent now or a whole generation will be lost due to this kind of brutality and lust for toxic masculinity.
This horrific incident is a stain on the affirmation of human rights, the right to the dignity of life, and the protection of Dalits and Adivasi/Tribal communities. The NCCI demands effective judicial action be taken against the perpetrators of this crime and the officials involved in delaying the writing of the first police report and doing a hurried non-ritualistic funeral of the victim allegedly without consent of the family. The NCCI demands that speedy justice be delivered to the victim and the bereaved family, and that protection be given to family members of the deceased as the family needs moral and judicial help because they are vulnerable due to their economic and social status of being Dalits.
National Council of Churches in India calls upon the National Human Rights Commission to take appropriate measures to safeguard the constitutional rights that affirm life ‘OF’ all and life ‘FOR’ all to ensure justice without bias so that the rights and dignity of the members belonging to victimized and vulnerable communities will be protected. The NCCI will address such heinous caste-based gender violence in its campaign leading to Human Rights Day, involving the participation of its constituents.
Rev. Jyoti Singh Pillai
Rev. Asir Ebenezer
National Council of Churches in India
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns