The gangrape and assault of a 19-year-old Dalit woman by “upper-caste” men in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh state on Sept. 14 and her subsequent death a fortnight later drew widespread anger among a large section of the Indian society, which points to the state government’s alleged apathy that ensued the incident. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people held a protest on Oct. 2 at the Jantar Mantar area of Delhi, India’s national capital. The protesters included students, politicians, activists and concerned citizens, and they demanded justice for the rape victim and the bereaved family as well as women’s safety.
Outraged at not just the rape but also the alleged mishandling of the case by the district administration, protesters asked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to resign. “Media is not allowed to go (to the village where the incident occurred), political representatives are prevented from going, do we call it a democracy?” asked Yogendra Yadav, an activist, psephologist and politician. “Is this the rule of law? Is this justice?”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrashekhar Azad from the Dalit rights group Bhim Army, and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Atishi Singh were also present at the site.
The protest was scheduled to be held at India Gate but was later shifted to Jantar Mantar due to prohibitory orders in the Rajpath area.
Jessica Goel is a Multimedia Producer with StoriesAsia and a graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. When she isn’t telling stories, she likes to make illustrating artwork.
Richard Kujur is a Multimedia Producer with StoriesAsia and a graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi.