Another gangrape. Another murder. On it goes. A dark tunnel. Unending. Without a glimmer of hope.
After Hathras, it’s Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur. A 22-year-old. The same pattern. Dalit. Gangraped. Back broken. Hands broken. Legs broken. Murdered. Will this nightmare ever end?
Balrampur, situated a little more than 500 km from Hathras, witnessed the death of the 22-year-old Dalit woman died after being allegedly raped and assaulted on Tuesday evening when the attention of the country was focused on the events in Delhi as the police tried to take away the Hathras woman’s body from Safdarjung hospital.
The young woman in Balrampur had died while being taken to a hospital in Lucknow. The police, meanwhile, has said that two accused in the case have been arrested but also claimed that the post-mortem has not revealed injuries to the woman contrary to information circulating about the woman suffering grave injuries prior to her death. The question arises then, how did she succumb to her injuries if an assault did not happen in the first place? The police even denied to officially comment on whether rape has been confirmed by a medical examination.
“A complaint was filed by the brother that two accused in the case, Shahid and Sahil, raped the woman, and then when her condition became serious, they sent her home on a rickshaw. The relatives say she died on the way to the hospital. The police have registered a case of murder and gang rape and both accused have been arrested and are being jailed. Some media channels are running that her hands, feet, and waist was broken but there is no mention of this in the post mortem,” senior police officer Dev Ranjan Verma said to The Hindu.
The woman’s mother said her daughter, a 2nd-year B.Com student was abducted in the morning while on way to secure a college admission. When she failed to return in time, the family launched a search for the woman. The family says she returned around 7 pm, and that the assailants had allegedly put her on an e-rickshaw and sent her home, sources said.
“She had gone at 10 am for her admission. The men had injected her with some substance due to which she lost consciousness. Then they raped her… They broke her legs, they broke her back. A rickshaw-wallah brought her home. She was thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak,” the woman’s mother said, weeping as reported by Zee News.
“Somehow, crying, my daughter said, ‘Save me, I do not want to die’,” the mother said. She added that soon after her return, her daughter complained of burning pain in her stomach. “The doctor at the local hospital said her condition is serious and advised that she be taken to Lucknow. But she died when we were near Balrampur town,” she added.
The police, citing the woman’s family, said there were marks on her hand of the intravascular cannula, medically known as Viggo, installed on her wrist for injecting glucose. “Her hands had a glucose syringe sticking out. She appeared to be in a very bad condition,” officer Dev Ranjan Verma said.
According to police, the woman was raped at a grocery store in the Gaisari village and the grocery store’s owner is the alleged mastermind of the crime.
“The family has named two persons. They said they took her to a doctor to get her treated and raped her. When her condition got worse, they sent her home instead of sending her to the hospital. The police have taken swift action and arrested the two named. We will ensure swift action,” the officer said.
The accused have been arrested after an FIR was filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376-D for gang rape and 302 for murder have been slapped against the two accused and further probe is on, the police official added.
In a video tweeted by the Balrampur Police this morning, the District Magistrate, the top police officer of the district, and local leaders are seen meeting with the family of the woman. They handed over ₹ 6.18 lakh to the family as “compensation”.
“The family members were assured that the accused will be given a strict punishment in accordance with the law. A letter sanctioning financial assistance of ₹ 6,18,450 was handed over to them by the mahant (of a famous local temple). The amount will be sent to the victim’s mother’s bank account by the afternoon,” a statement issued said.
Meanwhile, the Balrampur victim was also cremated in a hurry late Tuesday night just like Hathras gang-rape victim. Local media reported that the woman passed away at 8.30 pm on Tuesday and was cremated at 10.30 pm.
Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav made a jibe at the Yogi Adityanath government, asking it to not “attempt a cover-up” as in the Hathras case. “After Hathras, another gang-rape incident has surfaced in Balrampur in which the woman died after torture. The BJP government should not attempt a cover-up here like Hathras and should quickly take action against the accused,” his tweet in Hindi read.
The Hathras woman, who was also a member of the Scheduled Castes, was attacked on September 19 when she had gone to cut grass for fodder. Her assailants had left her in the fields half-strangled, bearing multiple fractures, tongue gashed, naked, bleeding, and paralyzed.
Her body was cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police in the middle of the night. Her family was kept locked up and not given a chance to bring her home for the last time and give her last rites.
The state has been under huge criticism and public anger is growing over the issue as even though mainstream media has been reluctant to cover the issue of increasing crime against women, at large. Uttar Pradesh has been notorious for violent and barbaric incidents of rape and murder, even though in 2019 it was declared as the safest State for women. Section 144 has been declared in Hathras as the situation gets further tensed.