Caste Crimes

It's easy to look at the pictures of the two girls raped in UP, harder to do anything about it

The gruesome picture of two Dalit girls raped, killed and left hanging on a tree in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh has triggered a debate on social media. But will it lead to justice, not just in this case but in the countless cases of sexual assault on Dalit women?

They were cousins, aged 14 and 15. With no toilet at home, the Dalit girls had reportedly stepped out to answer nature's call on Tuesday evening. When they did not return home, their family went to the police station but policemen refused to investigate the case. Next morning, the bodies of the girls were found hanging from a mango tree. A postmortem confirmed that the girls had been sexually assaulted, reported the Hindustan Times. 

TV news channels showed video footage of the bodies swinging from the tree surrounded by a gathering of villagers that included young children.

While the TV channels mosaiced the footage before using it, an unedited photograph made its way to social media, triggering a debate on the ethics, law, justice and voyeurism.























The debate over the pictures will probably die down soon, as will the outrage over the rape and murder of the two Dalit girls.

If the conviction rate for cases of sexual assault is low, the rate for convictions in cases involving  Dalit women is arguably even lower.

In 2010, of the 14,263 cases of rape that were decided, the accused was convicted in 3,788 cases, or 26.6%, reported the Wall Street Journal.

In comparison, a study done by the Centre for Dalit Rights on 50 cases of sexual assault on Dalit women in Rajasthan found that the conviction rate in the cases was less than 2%, The Times of India reported.

In 2012, The Hindu reported on the findings of a study done by the Gujarat-based non-governmental organisation Navsarjan, which sourced and analysed data on 379 cases of violence against Dalit women by non-Dalits in the state of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Of the 379 cases, the outcome of only 101 cases was known. Only three cases had resulted in convictions. The conviction rate came to a measly 0.79 per cent.

While the Badaun case has drawn greater attention in the media, several other cases of sexual assault on Dalit girls have been reported in the news this year.

In March, four Dalit girls were raped in Bhagana village in Haryana. About 90 families sat on protest for several weeks in Delhi to protest against police and government inaction.

In January, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was raped in a village in Punjab while she was headed to school. When her parents sat on protest outside the office of the police inspector-general to demand the arrest of the accused, the police reportedly picked up the parents.

Unequal by both gender and caste, Dalit women face the worst kind of violence in India. As this report, prepared on the basis of interviews with 500 Dalit women in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Uttar Pradesh, notes:

"The majority of Dalit women have faced violence in public spaces – streets, women’s toilet areas, bus stands, fields, etc. – in and around their villages and towns. The open or public nature of violence committed against them indicates both their specific vulnerability outside of the home, as well as the element of combined individual and collective community punishment meted out through particularly public physical assaults and verbal abuse. Many Dalit women in the study pointed out the perceived additional humiliation of public violence they face from dominant castes, as compared to the generally more private nature of violence committed against dominant caste women."
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

When house hunting is as easy as shopping for groceries

The supermarket experience comes to a sector where you least expected it.

The woes of a house hunter in India are many. The dreary process starts with circling classifieds in newspapers and collecting shiny brochures. You flip through the proposed and ready designs that launch a hundred daydreams on the spot. So far so good. But, every house hunter would attest to the soul-crushing experience of checking out a disappointing property.

The kitchen of a 2BHK is carved from the corner of the hall, the 3BHK is a converted 2BHK, the building looks much older than in the pictures…. after months of reading the fine line, and between the lines, you feel like all the diagrams and highlights seem to blur into each other.

After much mental stress, if you do manage to zero in on a decent property, there’s a whole new world of knowledge to be navigated - home loans to be sifted through, taxes to be sorted and a finance degree to be earned for understanding it all.

Do you wish a real estate platform would address all your woes? Like a supermarket, where your every need (and want) is catered to? Imagine all your property choices nicely lined up and arranged with neat labels and offers. Imagine being able to compare all your choices side by side. Imagine viewing verfied listings and knowing what you see is what you get. Imagine having other buyers and experts guiding you along every step while you make one of the most important investments in your life. Imagine...

MagicBricks has made every Indian house hunters’ daydream of a simplified real estate supermarket a reality. Now you have more than a pile of brochures at your disposal as the online real estate marketplace brings you lakhs of choices to your fingertips. Instead of bookmarking pages, you can narrow down your choices by area, budget, house type etc. Just so you aren’t hit by FOMO, you can always add a suburb you’ve been eyeing or an extra bedroom to your filter. But there’s more to a house than just floor space. On MagicBricks, you can check for good schools in the vicinity, a park for evening walks or at least an assured easier commute. Save time and energy by vetting properties based on the specs, pictures and floor plans uploaded and have all your niggling concerns addressed on the users’ forum.

Shortlisted a property? Great! No need to descend down another spiral of anxiety. Get help from reliable experts on MagicBricks on matters of legalities, home loans, investment, property worth etc. You can even avail their astrology and Vastu services to ensure an auspicious start to life in your new home or office. With its entire gamut of offerings, MagicBricks has indeed brought the supermarket experience to real estate in India, as this fun video shows below.

Play

Get started with a simplified experience of buying, renting and selling property on MagicBricks here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of MagicBricks and not by the Scroll editorial team.