The family of an Indian girl who was gang-raped accused the police of burning the victim’s body without her permission.
The 19-year-old girl from the Dalit caste (formerly called the Untouchable Caste) was reportedly raped by four men belonging to a higher caste in “Hathras” district in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India.
The girl was seriously injured and died in a hospital in the capital, Delhi, last Tuesday, after a two-week struggle to survive.
Activists say the police must explain why this “inhumane decision” was taken.
The people who attacked it were arrested, and a court was formed to speed up judicial procedures and begin immediately hearing the case.
“The police kept her family and the media away from the place where the body was cremated,” local journalist Abhishek Mathur, who witnessed the cremation from a distance, told the BBC.
Her body reached her village in Uttar Pradesh at around midnight. The victim’s brother said that the police had put pressure on the family to get the body cremated immediately.
“When we refused, they took the body in an ambulance and burned it,” he said.
A county administrative official denied the allegations, saying the authorities had obtained the family’s approval.
Mathur said that the victim’s mother wanted to take the body home in order to perform the funeral rites before further proceedings, but that her request was rejected.
“The police formed a human chain to prevent protesters, family members and the media from approaching the place where the body was cremated,” he added.
The victim’s brother said that some police officers treated the protesters roughly.
“They took the body without our permission, without my father’s permission and burned it. We could not see her body farewell.”
He added that the police beat some members of the family when they demanded to see the body, adding that even female family members were beaten.
The police did not provide a statement in response to these allegations.
The victim’s death sparked anger across the country. Dalit activists closed the main market in Hathras and demanded action against the police personnel involved.
Activists are also angered by the way the police have launched investigation procedures.
The victim’s brother said that the police did not arrest anyone during the first 10 days after the rape.
“She was left in hospital, struggling to survive for 14 days,” he added.
Several opposition figures condemned the incident, describing it as “insulting and unfair.”
Dalits are considered the lowest social class in Indian society due to the inexorable caste hierarchy of Hindus, as they are found at the bottom of the social ladder.
Despite the laws that protect this caste, discrimination against Dalits remains a daily fact, knowing that their number is close to 200 million people.
On Twitter, we find that the death of the victim is among the highest hashtags for discussion, as many followers called her Nirbhaya, referring to the 2012 gang rape victim who was forgotten and died in Delhi, which shocked the world.
The victim, who was a 23-year-old student studying physical therapy, was called by Indian media outlets Nirbhaya the Courage, because Indian law does not allow her to be called by her real name.
Rape and sexual violence have been in the spotlight since the 2012 Delhi attack, which led to massive protests and changes to Indias rape laws. But there are no signs of a decline in crimes targeting women and girls.