The death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Delhi after four men raped her in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, has led to outrage in political circles.

The woman had been initially admitted to the Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College And Hospital at the Aligarh Muslim University but was moved to the Safdarjung Hospital’s intensive care unit in Delhi on Monday. The woman had suffered multiple fractures. Her tongue had also been cut off.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said there have been several incidents of rape in Hathras, Shahajahanpur and Gorakhpur in the recent past. “The law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has completely deteriorated,” she alleged. “There is no sign of any safety for women. Criminals are roaming freely. The murderers of this girl should get the strictest punishment.” Gandhi told Chief Minister Adityanath that he was accountable for the safety of women in the state.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav condemned the incident, adding: “There is no hope left from this insensitive government.”

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said that the accused should be tried in a fast-track court. “The news of the death of Dalit victim after gangrape in Hathras, UP is very saddening,” she tweeted in Hindi. “The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure fast punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast track court. This is the demand of the BSP.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the death of the woman was a matter of shame for the country. “The death of Hathras victim is shameful for the entire society, country as well as for all the governments,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi. “It’s highly sad that so many daughters are being sexually assaulted and we have not been able to protect them. The guilty must be hanged at the earliest.”

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi called the incident “abhorrent and repulsive”. He tweeted: “Abhorrent & repulsive. 19 yr old girl brutally gang-raped in UP by 4 Rapists. tongue cut off. spinal cord &neck damaged. If this doesn’t jolt UP re: lawlessness in state, nothing will. One of those rarest of rare cases deserve death penalty.”

Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal demanded that the accused be hanged. “In Hathras, four men brutally raped a 19-year-old girl,” she tweeted. “They broke her spine and cut her tongue. She died in Delhi today. Everyday, women are falling prey to the crimes and the government is least bothered.”

In her statement to the police on September 22, the woman had said that the four men raped her on September 14 when she had gone to collect firewood. All the four accused are in jail.

Last week, based on a complaint by the woman’s brother, the police had booked a man identified as Sandeep for attempted murder, under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The family alleged Sandeep had tried to kill the woman over some old enmity.

Past instances

Earlier this month, a three-year-old girl was gangraped and killed in a sugarcane field in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.

On August 28, a man in Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district raped and murdered a 12-year-old girl and left her body in a forest.

On August 24, a 17-year-old girl was found dead near her house in the same district. The police said the minor was raped before being killed with a sharp weapon. Ten days before that, a 13-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered in the district. The body of the girl, who was strangled with her tongue allegedly cut, was found in a sugarcane field owned by one of the accused. The police had arrested four men in connection with the case.