Rights

'Condemn Brahminical Supremacy': Indian Americans Urge Kamala Harris to Speak on Hathras

The letter asked Senator Harris to issue a “strongly worded statement” to urge the Indian government to deliver justice to the victim and her family.

New Delhi: Indian Americans have launched an email campaign to send to US Democratic candidate for vice president, Kamala Harris, urging her to speak about the Hathras rape and murder incident and call on the Indian authorities to refrain from suppressing the case.

According to a Seattle-based volunteer, an email action campaign was launched last weekend among Indian-American Muslim and Bahujan groups in the US to ask Harris to raise her voice to “condemn the agenda of Brahminical supremacy of the Indian government, as was witnessed with the Hathras sexual violence case”.

The template mail circulated as part of the email campaign begins by stating that “As an Indian American, I write with disquieting concern to a disturbing tragedy that recently took place in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India and shook the conscience of not only India but the entire globe as well”. The volunteer stated that over 1000 emails have been sent out to Harris, as well as to, top US media groups.

On September 14, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped and violently assaulted in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district. She died from her grievous injuries in a Delhi hospital on September 29.

“What transpired after her death was an even greater travesty of justice. On the intervening night of September 29 and 30, she was cremated in haste by the Uttar Pradesh Police, with none from her bereaved family present,” said the email.

The family members of the victim had repeatedly stated that they had not given any consent for the cremation and neither were they present at the event which took place in the wee hours of the morning.

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The media’s coverage of the plight of the family, who were not able to even attend the cremation of the victim, snowballed into a political controversy.

The letter to Harris, whose mother was Indian and father was from Jamaica, stated that Dalits in India are subjected to violence by upper castes to ensure dominance. “National Crime Records Bureau (2019) reported that 10 Dalit women are sexually assaulted every day in India. Brahmins who are at the top of the caste hierarchy insist on their caste supremacy by perpetuating myths and denying that the caste problem exists despite such heinous crimes against Dalits and specially women. If this is not Brahminical Patriarchy, then what is?”

It claimed that the government led by UP chief Yogi Adityanath had employed a public relations company to ‘spin’ different narratives to project the impression that the victim had not been raped.

Additionally, the email also claimed that in Uttar Pradesh and India, in general, crimes against minorities had increased significantly. There has also been an increase in prosecution of minorities for allegedly taking part in anti-CAA protests and so-called “love jihad”.

The letter asked Senator Harris to issue a “strongly worded statement” to urge the Indian government to deliver justice to the victim and her family.

It also called on her to raise questions about the growing crimes against minorities and marginalised communities in India and put pressure on New Delhi to stop prosecuting anti-CAA protestors. There was a specific reference to the recent arrest of 83-year-old tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, with calls for the release of journalists, authors and activists who have been in jail without trial in the Elgar Parishad case.