NEW DELHI—Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has strongly condemned the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl from a village in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh and demanded swift justice for the victim.
The girl, whose tongue was cut and sustained spinal injuries, is undergoing treatment in a hospital in Aligarh and her conditions is stated to be serious.
The incident is reported to have occurred on September 14 morning when she had gone along with her mother for cutting fodder for cattle.
The Hathras police, on complaint from victim’s brother, have registered a case of gangrape, attempt to murder and under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
While three of the accused, all from the same village and belonging to upper castes, have been arrested, the police are looking for the fourth one.
Dalits account for a miniscule population in the village having only 15 families out of a total of 600 families. The upper castes account for about 400 families. Media reports say that the Dalits have been subjected to harassment and atrocities at the hands of the upper castes even in the past.
JIH Vice President Prof Salim Engineer, in a statement, has demanded an “expeditious inquiry and trial of the case”.
Prof Salim also asked the UP government to ensure “swift justice” for the victim.
Stating that “cases of rape and sexual harassment are on the rise in UP”, he said that there had been several incidents of rape of minors in Maharajganj, Lakhimpur Kheri, Meerut and Greater Noida in the recent past.
“The administration must take cognisance of this spike in sexual crimes by sprucing its law and order machinery. Crimes increase in places where criminals feel emboldened by weak law enforcement and feel that they can ‘manage’ the ‘system’ and go unpunished”, he pointed out.
Stating that the question of Dalit problem is a long unresolved problem in India and both the state and society must contribute to solve it, Prof Salim said that “the Dalits still remain barred from entry into places of worship, denied access to common water facilities and seating among other upper caste villagers”.
He advised that the state must ensure “zero tolerance towards hate crimes and atrocities on Dalits and see that the violation of one’s dignity does not go unpunished”.
Prof. Salim suggested social activists, religious leaders and political parties to take up the project of social engineering and motivate people to adhere to the principle of equality, universal brotherhood and human fraternity.
“The dream of economic prosperity despite gross income inequality and social injustice, is a disillusionment that we can ill afford”, he commented.