02/18/2021, 09.54
INDIA
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Uttar Pradesh: two Dalit girls found dead. A third is dying

by Nimala Carvalho

The three minors had gone out to gather forage near the family farm. They had their hands and feet bound. Police: perhaps victims of poisoning. It is not the first case of gender-based violence in the area. Bishop Nayak: “A brutal crime. Dalit women victims of continuous discrimination "

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two Dalit girls aged 16 and 13 were found dead near the family farm in the Unnao district (Uttar Pradesh). A 17-year-old was found still alive in the same field: she is hospitalized in serious conditions.

The three young Dalits (outcast) belong to the same family: the eldest are sisters; the 13-year-old is their cousin. Family members say they found the girls last night: they had their hands and feet tied with their clothes. The three children had gone off to collect fodder for the cattle. Given the delay in their return, the parents started looking for them.

The police have opened an investigation. According to Sureshrao A Kulkarni, head of local law enforcement, the victims may have been poisoned. He explains that doctors found traces of a whitish substance in their mouth.

For Msgr. Sarat Chandra Nayak, bishop of Berhampur (Orissa) and head of the Disadvantaged Caste and Tribal Office of the Bishops' Conference, what happened to the three girls is a brutal crime. He points out that it is an act devoid of humanity, performed by a depraved mind.

The Unnao area has already had cases of violence against women. In 2019, a rape victim was burned alive shortly before testifying in court for the violence she suffered: she did not survive the burns. The same year, a local parliamentarian from the Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalist) was convicted of sexual assault.

It is often Dalit girls who are victims of rape. “Dalit women - says Msgr. Nayak - are discriminated against threefold. For their caste status, for gender and for the different economic treatment they receive at work. Christian Dalits are also persecuted for their faith”.

The attackers, says Msgr. Nayak, target against Dalit women because they think they enjoy a kind of impunity: “The system does not help the lower castes. It is also an internal problem in families, where women are discriminated against on the basis of a patriarchal concept of society”.

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