Indian Police Arrest Key Opposition Leaders Demonstrating Against Rape | India


Indian police on Thursday imposed emergency laws in a village where a Dalit woman was reportedly raped and killed, preventing gatherings of more than five people after clashes erupted after her cremation.Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were traveling to Hathras district to meet with the victim’s family, were arrested by police.

Police stopped their convoy on a highway en route to the village. They got out of their car and started walking towards the village, but were again blocked by the police.

Dozens of Congress Party workers clashed with police, who used sticks to disperse them. Some party workers were injured and Rahul Gandhi slipped to the ground in the melee before being taken away by police, a video showed on TV news channels.

The 19-year-old, from the class once known as “untouchables” under India’s Hindu caste system, died of her injuries on Tuesday, after being assaulted and gang-raped on September 14 in a field near his home in the Hathras district, 100 km (62 miles) from the capital New Delhi, authorities said.

Police arrested four men in connection with the crime.

Clashes between protesters and police erupted in the northern Uttar Pradesh state 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 his family, who had wanted to perform their own funeral rites. Local officials deny this.

A second woman has died after being gang raped in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. The two separate cases reignite protests against sexual violence – and the country’s caste system. Both women were from the marginalized Dalit community.

25 arrested

Twenty-five people have been arrested in connection with the unrest, according to a police briefing report. A witness told Reuters that police used batons during the clashes.

India is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women, with one rape every 15 minutes, according to federal data – numbers that rights groups vastly underestimate the extent of the problem.

A protester is arrested by police during a protest outside the Uttar Pradesh state bhavan (building) in New Delhi, following the rape and murder of the woman [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

The latest case has sparked outrage and widespread protests across India over the backgrounds of those involved.

While the victim came from the Dalit community – which faces frequent discrimination and violence – the four arrested men were all from an upper caste, his brother told Reuters.

According to human rights organizations, Dalit women are particularly vulnerable to caste discrimination and sexual violence.

The victim and her brother are not identified due to laws prohibiting the naming of victims of sexual violence.

Orders preventing the gathering of more than five people have been imposed on Hathras, Vikrant Vir, the district’s top police official, told Reuters on Thursday.

Chandrashekhar Azad, a popular Dalit politician who founded Bhim’s army to campaign for community rights, also planned to visit the district on Thursday, according to media reports.

Uttar Pradesh, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, is one of the most dangerous states for women in the country.

Under emergency laws, police will prevent members of political organizations from entering Hathras, Vir said.


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