New Delhi: The gang rape and death of a woman from the lowest rung of India’s caste system sparked outrage across the country on Wednesday, with several politicians and activists demanding justice and protesters rallying in the streets.
The attack of the 19-year-old is the latest gruesome case of sexual violence against women to rile India, where reports of rape are hauntingly familiar.
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 Tuesday. The case has sparked widespread anger across India that was further fuelled on Wednesday by accusations that police seized the woman’s body and cremated it against the wishes of her family.
On Tuesday night, clashes between police and protesters appalled by the killing erupted outside the hospital, before a large group of officers escorted the hearse back to her native village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Her family told local media that the corpse was seized by police upon its arrival at the village in Hathras district, despite resistance from relatives and villagers, and was cremated in the middle of the night.
Police did not offer an explanation but multiple relatives protested against the 3am cremation, saying they wanted the body to lie at the family home for a time so absent loved ones could return to pay their respects.