The safai kaamdars (sanitation workers) in Gujarat have announced that they will stay away from work on Tuesday as a mark of protest against the Hathras gangrape incident in Uttar Pradesh. A Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by four men and then brutally beaten. She later succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Delhi.
The gangrape led to large scale protests across the country particularly in UP.
Over 20,000 sanitation workers who are part of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC’s) and other civic body’s workforce will be among those who will stay away from work as part of the protest.
Sanitation workers from Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and other municipal corporations will also be joining the protest against the Hathras gangrape.
Kalpesh Makwana, who is part of the organisation of sanitation workers working with the AMC said that this is their way of ensuring that the Dalit girl gets justice in the Hathras gangrape case.
We will also be giving a memorandum to the district collector in this connection, he said. In the memorandum, they have also raised several questions about the discrimination meted out to Dalits.
Makwana said that they have so far not informed the civic body about their decision to stay away from work.
Hathras gangrape case history
A 19-year-old woman was attacked on September 14 at Hathras village. She told the cops that she was dragged by her dupatta into the fields where she had been cutting grass.
The family later found her in the fields, naked and bleeding, with injuries on her neck and back.
She suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and a deep gash in her tongue in the assault. The injuries to her neck left her paralysed and struggling to breathe, media reports said.
Her family has alleged that the police did not help them initially and only reacted after public outrage over the incident.
UP police denied that her tongue was cut off and said she bit her tongue when her attackers were trying to strangle her.
News of her death led to protests outside the hospital with the Bhim Army of Chandrashekhar Azad blocking roads for 10-15 minutes and protesters chanting ‘hang the rapists’. There has been an outpouring of grief and anger from politicians, celebrities and others.
The UP police initially registered an attempt to murder case but added rape charges only after the woman’s formal statement. They have denied the family’s allegation of slow response.
The victim’s family alleged that the body was cremated by the police in a hurry in the dead of the night and the family and relatives were not allowed to have a last look.
Meanwhile, the UP police also claimed that no rape had happened, citing a forensic report.
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