The caste angle in the horrific gangrape and torture of a 20-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh was highlighted by Chandrashekar Azad's Bhim Army with a protest outside the Delhi hospital, where she died today. The woman, a member of the Scheduled Castes, was attacked by men belonging to the so-called upper castes more than two weeks ago. Doctors said she had sustained terrible injuries -- multiple fractures including fracture of spine and cuts on her tongue.
The attack evoked outrage and many in social media compared it to the one on a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi, dubbed Nirbhaya, in 2012.
The Bhim Army, which became prominent during caste-related clashes in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur, is demanding punishment for her attackers, all four of whom have been arrested.
The road in front of the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences is blocked and slogans of "Phansi do (hang them)" are being raised by the crowd, which has parked itself there with placards and candles.
In an interview with NDTV, Chandrashekar Azad, who heads the Bhim Army, contended that the woman was neglected because of her caste. "How come the Prime Minister hasn't commented? How come Kangana (actor Kangana Ranaut) hasn't commented," he said. Taking on the Yogi Adityanath government, he added, "Don't expect justice in Uttar Pradesh".
What fueled the anger of protesters are the allegations of delay in medical treatment and police action to arrest the accused. .
The woman's family has alleged that the police helped them only after public outrage. Even in the matter of her hospitalisation in Delhi, the family said she was admitted in Safdarjung hospital, though they were promised that she would go to AIIMS.
A resident of a village in Hathras district, the woman was dragged off the fields by her dupatta while cutting grass on September 14. Initially she was admitted at a hospital in Aligarh and was shifted to Delhi yesterday.
Doctors said the spinal injuries she sustained left her paralysed and made it difficult for her even to breathe.
All four of her attackers were arrested and are currently in jail. The police said they will be charged with murder.
In March, the four men convicted in the Nirbhaya case were hanged. The execution of Akshay Thakur, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32, took place at Delhi's Tihar Jail seven years after the crime as the convicts had filed multiple petitions to play for time.