It is a year since a duaughter of India went through a brutal torture with no parallels. Many of us do not remember even the place name of Hathras, let alone her suffering. Long gone are the public which put Facebook posts with rage and tears, the lighting of candles, online protest meetings and leaders and media stand dispersed after words of solace and photo ops. When that family's plight of living with a woeful absence of a single reliable soul on this earth to stand by them, and going through pain, threats and scandals, fails to arouse any innate sympathy, the country's 139 crore heads should be lowered in compunction.
Four muscular casteist men gangraped a 19-year old Dalit woman, and in order to ensure that no tongue would survive to let the world know about this nefarious crime, they committed further physical backbreaking damage. The UP police, which insulted the family who approached them with a complaint, did not bother to register a complaint until after full four days. By that time the woman battled severely against pain for days before bidding farewell to this pitiless world. Without letting even her family know about it, or showing any sign of respect to the dead body, the police cremated her instantly overnight. In spite of the court's direction, there was delay even in a just inquiry. When they were on their way later to enquire about the case, journalist Siddique Kappan and a few student organisation leaders were locked up in jail charged with UAPA offences. But under the leadership of a former BJP legislator, Hindutva outfits held demonstrations declaring solidarity with the culprits. And Yogi Adityanath, praised by admirers as the strongest state chief minister, branded any voice demanding justice as conspiracy to tarnish the image of the state and hid behind them. When the state government argued - spending crores of rupees of the exchequer - that there was no rape and the act was not a sexual abuse, there were media to blow that trumpet. It went to the extent of nonsensical comments from responsible quarters such as that only those girls who did not follow the Arsha Bharat culture were being subjected to abuse. Add to it the social alienation initiated by caste hegemons, all all pain got loaded on that family. Now they are lamenting that no one even talks to them and they are suffocating each day. Their case in the court is moving at snail pace. In UP, that has become a land of crimes and the capital of rapes, there have been many more sexual atrocities after Hathras. In another sexual torture case in 2018 in Hathras, the accused who got out on bail shot to death the father of the victim. Ever since the Hathras incident, the ruling dispensation of UP has turned no stone unturned to prove any response against torture of women as sedition and an act against culture, and to quell any struggle for justice. Although anti-women assaults and denial of justice have happened many times in the past, it is only now that those who protest against, and report crimes are being targeted.
If one may recall, this is a country where the youth had marched to the Raisina Hills, where the President's official residence is situated, demanding justice for the victim in the gang-rape victim, called 'Nirbhaya case' . The government then was trying not to take retaliatory action against protesters, but to tighten laws in deference to popular anger. One may wonder whether all girls of the country are not the country's progeny? The family of the Hathras family is now forced to give up their jobs and dispose of their cattle. When they proceed to the court for the case hearings, the upper caste people chase them, threaten them and force their lawyer to withdraw their vakalatnama. If the family which lost its daughter in tragic circumstances, is still having to face such severe vctimisation, it speaks volumes for the total collapse of law and order machinery in that party of the country; it also implies that if we fellow citizens who, despite knowing all this continue their silent indifference, there is no speck of humanity left in us.