A 19-year-old woman, who was gangraped and tortured in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district two weeks ago, succumbed to injuries at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday, prompting outrage and protests.
Recalling the horrors of the Nirbhaya case, the Dalit teen was allegedly sexually attacked by four men on September 14 and was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on Monday in an extremely critical condition with spinal injuries, paralysis and cuts on her tongue. She couldn’t survive the night and died at 3 am, Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir quoted her family as saying.
As news of her death spread, protests broke out at the hospital as well as in Vijay Chowk and in Hathras, about 180 km away.
Four men, reportedly belonging to an upper caste and residents of the woman’s village, who were charged with gangrape and attempt to murder, apart from charges under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, have been arrested. They will now be also charged with murder.
On September 14, the young woman had gone to the fields with her mother and went missing soon after. She was found later, beaten and tortured, her tongue cut as she bit it when the accused attempted to strangle her, the SP said while giving details of the attack.
A spokesperson at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh where she was first admitted said her legs were completely paralysed and arms partially.
Leading the protests outside Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he appealed to all members of the Dalit community to take to the streets and demand death penalty for the guilty.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the “class-specific jungle raj” of UP has killed another young woman.
BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also condoled the death of a “Dalit daughter”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described the young woman’s death as a shame for society, the country as well as for all governments.
Cricketer Virat Kohli, who is in the UAE for the ongoing IPL, said, “What happened in #Hathras is inhumane and goes beyond cruelty. Hope the culprits of this heinous crime will be brought to justice…”
In Bollywood, actors Akshay Kumar, Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadha among others called for “serious punishment”. Akhtar posted a heartbreak emoji on Twitter and said it was a “sad, sad day”.