Outrage in India over gang rape victim’s death

A 19-year-old lower-caste (Dalit) woman died after she was allegedly gang raped by four upper-caste men, sparking an outrage in India.

Police said four men had dragged the victim to a field where they allegedly raped her. She was grievously injured in the attack.

The attack occurred on 14 September in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district. The woman was admitted to a Delhi hospital with several injuries.

The incident sent shockwaves across India. Sexual violence and rape has been under the spotlight in India since the 2012 attack in Delhi, which led to huge protests and changes to the country’s rape laws. But there has been no sign of crimes against women and girls abating.

Dalit politician and activist, Chandrashekhar Azad, had visited the victim over the weekend. His party has now called for nationwide protests over her death.

Dalits are some of India’s most oppressed communities because of an unforgiving Hindu caste hierarchy that condemns them to the bottom of the ladder.

Despite laws that protect them, discrimination remains a daily reality for the Dalit population, thought to number around 200 million.