New Delhi: The Dalit woman gang-rape victim died in Delhi hospital on Tuesday morning. Four men raped and tortured the 20-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras two weeks ago. She suffered multiple fractures in her neck, paralysis and a deep gash in her tongue in the savage assault. Many people had compared this incident to the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape.
Fractures in the neck had left her paralysed and struggling to breathe, said doctors in Delhi hospital. According to district officials, she bit her tongue when her attackers were trying to strangle her. However, she succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday morning.
At first, the woman was admitted to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital. She was then shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, on Monday.
News of her death led to protests outside the hospital. The Bhim Army of Chandrashekhar Azad “Raavan” blocked roads for hours and protesters chanting “hang the rapists”. On social media, there has been an outpouring of grief and anger from politicians, celebrities and others.
Meanwhile, all four attackers, upper caste men from the woman’s village, are in jail.
Attacked on September 14
The woman was attacked on September 14 at her village in Hathras, in Uttar Pradesh state, about 200 km from Delhi.
In her statement to the police the victim said the accused dragged her by her dupatta into the fields from a spot where she had been cutting grass with her mother and brother.
“My mother and sister, along with my elder brother, had gone to a field to get some grass. My brother went home earlier with a large bundle of grass, while my mother and sister continued to cut them. The women were a little far from each other. Four-five people came from behind, threw my sister’s dupatta around her neck and dragged her inside the bajra field,” the woman’s brother said.
When the family searched, they found her in the fields, naked and bleeding, with horrific injuries. “My mother covered her up and we went to the police and lay her down there. Three bones in her neck were broken and she had difficulty in breathing… She needed oxygen right from the beginning,” he said.
“They had raped her. The police did not help us initially… They did not take quick action and acted only after four-five days,” he said, accusing the police of reacting only after public outrage.
The family believes that the attack was planned.
This morning, the woman’s brothers alleged more lapses by the police.
“We were told that our sister would be taken to AIIMS, instead, she was taken to Safdarjung,” one of the brothers told reporters. They sat on protest, alleging that the victim’s body had been taken away without their permission.
However the Uttar Pradesh police have denied the family’s allegation of slow response.
Demands for death penalty
Meanwhile Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and his supporters held a protest on Tuesday at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, demanding the culprits be sentenced to death.
At the protest, Azad appealed all members of the Dalit community to take to the streets. He demanded death penalty for the guilty. “The government should not test our patience. We won’t rest until the culprits are hanged.” Azad said. “The state government was also equally responsible for the death of our sister,” he alleged.