Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad has called for a protest today at Delhi’s India Gate – where large gatherings have been banned amid anger over the Hathras incident – to demand answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old Dalit woman two weeks ago.
In an emotional message Mr Azad, whose Bhim Army earlier this week led a protest outside Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital – where the young woman died from horrific injuries suffered in the assault – lashed out at the Prime Minister and said his silence was “a danger for our daughters”.
“In the same Uttar Pradesh that elected him and sent him to parliament, there is brutality against a daughter from Hathras. She was raped and murdered… her bones were broken. And her body cremated like garbage. When there is human rights violation in Uttar Pradesh, does not the Prime Minister say a word?” Mr Azad asked.
Prime Minister Modi is a Lok Sabha MP from UP’s Varanasi.
“Neither can the Prime Minister hear her screams nor her family’s screams. How long will you stay silent, Prime Minister? You will have to give answers. Today, at 5 pm, we are coming to India Gate to demand answers. Your silence is a danger for our daughters,” he said.
Chandrashekhar Azad told the Prime Minister “you will have to speak… you will have to give answers and you will have to ensure justice is delivered”
This is the second time that Mr Azad has called on the Prime Minister, who so far has not commented on the matter, to speak out.
Speaking to NDTV Mr Azad asked: “How come the Prime Minister hasn’t commented?” and, taking on the Yogi Adityanath government in the state, added: “Don’t expect justice in Uttar Pradesh”.
The protests are likely to result in a confrontation with Delhi Police, who late last night said gatherings in and around India Gate in the central areas of the national capital were banned till further notice.
The date of Chandrashekhar Azad’s protest is significant – today is Gandhi Jayanti, or the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Mahatma Gandhi was among the first to fight for oppressed members of the so-called lower castes.
Mr Azad’s Bhim Army also protested outside the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi this week, highlighting the caste angle in a vicious attack that has drawn comparisons to the 2012 Delhi gang rape.
The road outside the hospital was blocked for hours and slogans of “phansi do (hang them)” were raised by a crowd that parked itself there with placards and candles.
On Thursday Mr Azad demanded President’s Rule in UP, alleging “failure of constitutional machinery” in the state over crimes against Dalits. He also said he has started a protest at his home in UP’s Saharanpur where he had been placed under “house arrest” as ordered by local police the day before.
The 20-year-old woman, who died Tuesday suffered fractures, paralysis and a spinal injury after a savage assault by four men from the so-called upper castes. The police said there was a gash in her tongue because she had bitten it while being strangled.
The family, which has criticised UP Police for their handling of the case, has also alleged they were not allowed to be a part of a 2:30 am cremation by cops.
With input from PTI