A 19-year-old woman, who was brutally gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district two weeks ago, succumbed to her injuries at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Tuesday morning, prompting outrage and angry protests.
The Dalit teen was allegedly sexually assaulted by four men on September 14 and was referred to Safdarjung Hospital on Monday in an extremely critical condition with spinal injuries and paralysis. She is reported to have died at 3 AM. As news of her death spread, protests broke out at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital as well as in Vijay Chowk and in Hathras, with civil society activists and politicians demanding justice. All the four men alleged to be involved in the crime have been arrested.
On September 14, the young woman was reported missing. She was later found with severe injuries and cuts in her tongue as she bit it when the accused attempted to strangle her, the SP said while giving details of the incident.
She was admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh but as her condition showed no signs of improvement, she was referred to Delhi. According to sources her legs were completely paralysed and arms were paralysed.
Leading the protests outside Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad appealed to all members of the Dalit community to take to the streets and demand the death penalty for the guilty. “The government should not test our patience. We won't rest until the culprits are hanged," the Bhim Army chief said. Azad, who had earlier demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government shift the woman to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for better treatment, has held the state government “equally responsible” for her tragic death.
Hitting out at the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress questioned the "silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women BJP leaders on the issue and alleged that the state has become the "crime capital" of the country. Congress members also staged protests demanding justice for the victim at Vijay Chowk.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the "class-specific jungle raj" of UP has killed another young woman. "The government said that this is fake news and left the victim to die. Neither was this unfortunate incident fake, nor was the death of the victim and the brutality of the government," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
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Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said a “Dalit girl who was victim of demoniac behaviour in Hathras” has passed away at Safdarjung Hospital after struggling for two weeks between life and death in hospitals. "Law and order in UP has deteriorated to a great extent. There is no semblance of safety for women. The criminals are committing crimes in the open," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet.
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BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav also spoke out on the issue. In a tweet in Hindi, Mayawati said, "The news of the death of Dalit victim after gangrape in Hathras, UP is very saddening. The government should provide all possible help to the victim's family and ensure fast punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast track court. This is the demand of the BSP."
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Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav grieved the death of a “Dalit daughter”. "A Dalit daughter, who was a victim of gangrape and brutality, ultimately died. I condole her death. No hope is left with the present insensitive government," Yadav tweeted.
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the young woman’s death is matter of shame for the entire country. "It’s highly sad that so many daughters are being sexually assaulted and we have not been able to protect them. The guilty must be hanged at the earliest," Kejriwal tweeted.
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The National Commission for Women (NCW) said it has assured all possible assistance to her family and has reached out to the victim’s brother. In a video message, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said the commission had sought action from the Uttar Pradesh Police on the matter.
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