India: two women die after gang rapes in Uttar Pradesh state

The victims in both assaults were from the oppressed Dalit community on the bottom rung of India's caste system

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest following accusations of Indian Police forcibly cremating the body of a 19-year-old woman victim, who was allegedly gang-raped by four men in Bool Garhi village of Uttar Pradesh state, near India Gate in New Delhi on September 30, 2020. Indian police were accused on September 30 of forcibly cremating the body of a 19-year-old alleged gang-rape victim as anger grew over the latest horrific sexual assault to rock the country. The teenager from India's marginalised Dalit community suffered serious injuries in a brutal sexual attack two weeks ago, according to her family and police, and died at a New Delhi hospital on September 29. / AFP / Sajjad HUSSAIN
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A 22-year-old woman from India's Dalit community died after being gang-raped, police said on Thursday, days after the death of a teenager from the same oppressed caste who was raped by a group of high-caste men.

Both attacks took place in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The latest victim was allegedly raped by two men on Tuesday and died while being taken to hospital, state police said.

According to her family, the woman worked at a private company and did not return home on Tuesday night, a senior police official told the Times of India. "Later, in the wee hours of Wednesday, the girl came [home] in a rickshaw in a bad condition with a glucose drip attached to her arms. She was soon rushed to hospital but died on the way," he said.

"A rickshaw-wallah [driver] brought her home. [She] was thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak," the NDTV news channel quoted her mother as saying.

Police said that two men had been arrested on charges of gang-rape and murder, without giving further details on their identities. An investigation is under way and the suspects may be tried in a special fast-track court, they said.

The incident took place in Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh, around 500 kilometres from Hathras district where a 19-year-old Dalit girl was attacked and raped by four upper-caste men on September 14 in a field near her home.

The victim was left paralysed by her injuries and rushed to hospital in New Delhi, 200km away, but died on Tuesday. Her death sparked protests in Delhi and in cities in Uttar Pradesh.
Clashes broke out between protesters and police Hathras district on Wednesday after police cremated the woman's body. The victim's brother told Reuters the cremation was carried out against the wishes of her family, who had wanted to perform their own funeral rites. Local officials deny this.

Police declared emergency law in the area on Thursday, preventing gatherings of more than five people.

Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, leaders of the opposition Congress Party, along with Chandra Shekhar Aazad, a popular Dalit politician who founded the Bhim Army to campaign for the rights of the community, all planned to visit the district on Thursday, according to media reports.

Under the emergency laws, police will stop members of political organisations from entering Hathras, a police official said.

Uttar Pradesh, which is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, ranks as one of the most unsafe states for women in the country.

The latest assaults come months after four men were hanged for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, a case that came to symbolise the nation's problems with sexual violence.

An average of 87 rape cases were reported every day last year, according to the latest data released on Tuesday by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

The bureau reported an increase of more than 7 per cent in the number of crimes against women in 2019 compared to the previous year.