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India protests over Kathua, Unnao rape cases

Last updated on: April 15, 2018 21:45 IST

Hundreds of people on Sunday participated in protest marches across the country against increasing incidents of rape and atrocities on Dalits and minorities.

IMAGE: No Country for girls, says one of the banners during a protest at Carter Raod in Mumbai's Bandra to demand justice for victims in the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

People, carrying "Not in My Name" placards and forming human chains, protested across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa and Kerala.

 

Protests were also held in Rajasthan's Ajmer, Gujarat's Surat and Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal.

People from all walks of life participited in the march and vented their anger over the incidents.

IMAGE: People take part in 'Not in My Name' protest against the recent incidents of rapes, at Parliament Street in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

The protest comes as two incidents of rape in Jammu and Kashmir and in Uttar Pradesh provoked outrage across India.

Several similar protests have been organised over the past week to demand justice to the victims of the two cases.

IMAGE: People display placards as they take part in the protest in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

The protestors demanded immediate dismissal of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly shielding his party legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping a 17-year-old girl who had gone to his residence seeking a job.

After the matter came to light when the victim tried to immolate herself outside Adityanath's residence in Lucknow on April 8 alleging police inaction for nearly an year, criticism against the state government has mounted.

IMAGE: Protesters demand immediate resignation of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ajay Singh Bisht -- aka Yogi Adityanath. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

On April 9, her father died in judicial custody, with the autopsy report suggesting serious injuries on his body.

The case has been handed over to the CBI and Sengar was yesterday sent into a seven-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

IMAGE: Protesters also question the ruling party for backing alleged conspirators in both the case. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

The participants at the "Not In My Name" protest in New Delhi sought immediate arrest of the two BJP ministers, who led rallies of Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua on March 1 in support of the accused in the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl.

The girl's body was found a week after she disappeared from near home in January. The police has arrested a caretaker of a temple and alleged he was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl from a nomadic tribe.

IMAGE: Protesters also demand death for the rapists. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

The police claimed the motive behind the crime was to terrify the nomadic community and drive it out of the village.

In Delhi, the protesters sought adequate security arrangements for the families of the victims, and state support for arranging a competent prosecution team.

IMAGE: A woman hold placard during the protest in Mumbai. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

"Today we mourn the rape and murder of a little girl in Kathua. Her crime was that she belonged to the Bakarwal Muslim community that the Hindutva forces want out of the area.

IMAGE: People from all walks of life -- including students, homemakers, senior citizens and children -- participate in the protests. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

"Her rape and murder are part of a larger narrative of communal violence with women's bodies being used as a battle field," said Saba.

Filmmaker Rahul Roy, who too participated in the protest, said: "As a country we have to hang our heads in shame for having failed the Constitution. We have to acknowledge that as a country we have failed our minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, women and girls."

With inputs from agencies 

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