New Delhi, Oct 5 (PTI) Activists of Left-affiliated, Dalit and women's organisations burnt the effigy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at Jantar Mantar on Monday over 'injustice' allegedly meted out to the family of the Hathras victim.
They also demanded Adityanath's resignation over 'mishandling' the case.
This comes days after a massive protest in the city where hundreds of protesters had gathered to demand the chief minister's resignation. The protest had seen the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI (M) leaders Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat, Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad,, Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker among others.
The protesters, wearing masks, gathered at Jantar Mantar holding placards that read 'End rape culture,' 'Dalit lives matter', 'Educate Organise Agitate' among others.
The protesters from organisations like the All India Students' Association, All India Progressive Women's Association, Bhim Army and All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) raised slogans slamming UP Police and demanding justice for the 19-year-old woman, who was allegedly raped and killed by four upper-caste men.
Sucheta De from the Left-affiliated All India Students' Association (AISA) said, 'We will be holding the protests every day till the Yogi Adityanath government is there. He has to resign. The state machinery is being used to intimidate the family of the victim.' Kawalpreet Kaur, the president of Delhi unit of AISA, said they want a judicial enquiry of the case. 'Justice should also be seen as done and in this case, from the beginning when they did not register an FIR, it only shows that they don't want to ensure justice. They just want to ensure that the upper caste accused are protected. 'Now the chief minister is alleging there is an international conspiracy to it. That is absurd,' she said.
Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of All India Progressive Women's Association, said it is important to recognise caste-based oppression and said the protest was a way to create mass awakening against caste.
'It is important to have an anti-caste movement. The way the Yogi government is behaving by burning evidence, burning woman's body, subjecting it to indignity, surrounding the whole village and not allowing anti-rape protest but allowing pro-rape protest, we demand the resignation of Yogi Adityanath,' she said.
Calling what happened in UP 'beyond jungle Raj', she alleged that the police in UP is being used as a criminal force by the state.
A protester who did not want to be named said, 'What's happened in Hathras is horrifying. It brings back memories of 2012. It took eight years for the family of Nirbhaya to get justice. What's happened in Unnao or Hathras, it's injustice with the family.
'That young girl was brutally gang-raped and it was extremely inhumane how the UP police cremated her post-midnight? How long will this family have to wait to get justice? Justice delayed is justice denied.' A working professional with her teenage son and daughter, who was also among the protesters, said it is sheer anger that has forced her to join the protest amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
'When will all this stop? They say women are empowered. If so, is this how they treat women? I have a daughter too. This could happen to anyone. It's been eight years since Nirbhaya and women are still unsafe in this country.
'It took us eight years to give justice to Nirbhaya. Has anything changed at all? We need to take a stand for all the women and daughters of this country. This is unacceptable and needs to stop,' said another protester.
The Dalit woman from Hathras succumbed at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital to the injuries she suffered in the assault by four upper-caste men in her village in Hathras district on September 14. The four have been arrested.
The incident triggered outrage across the country after TV footage showed that the local police cremated the body at night. Her family members alleged they were not allowed to bring the body home one last time, but police claimed they had the family's consent for the cremation. PTI AMP SLB DPB DPB