(Add details of protests, par 13)
By Saurabh Sharma and Anushree Fadnavis
NEW DELHI / LUCKNOW, India September 30 (Reuters) – Protests erupted in several parts of India on Wednesday after authorities cremated the body of a gang rape victim in a ceremony her family said to have taken place without their permission.
The 19-year-old victim from the Dalit community – the lowest rung of India’s old caste system – was attacked and raped on September 14 in a field near his home in Hathras district, 100 km from the capital, New Delhi, authorities said. died in hospital on Tuesday from injuries sustained in the attack. Police arrested four men in connection with the rape.
The victim’s brother told Reuters that neither police nor government officials sought permission from the family to perform the funeral rite for the victim in his home village in Uttar Pradesh state around 2 a.m. (07:30 GMT) Wednesday.
“We begged the authorities and the police that we wanted to perform the funeral rite in the morning, but they did not listen to us and the rite was performed by them,” he said.
“We were put behind the barricades they formed using the police. We couldn’t even see the face of our deceased sister.”
Praveen Kumar Laxar, a district magistrate, denied that the cremation took place without the family’s permission: “With their consent only, she was cremated. Members of his family were there. Making this claim is absolutely false. “
The victim and her brother are not identified due to laws prohibiting the naming of victims of sexual violence.
Police and government officials in the woman’s home district did not respond to requests for comment.
Rape has sparked outrage in India, where violence against women and those from lower castes is rampant. The victim’s brother said the men accused were all from a higher caste in the village.
Uttar Pradesh, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, is the most dangerous state for women in the country.
Protesters in the town of Hathras in Uttar Pradesh were greeted by police who charged them with batons, a witness said.
Angry protesters, many of whom wore masks to ward off the novel coronavirus, clashed with police in New Delhi.
“I am here to show the UP government, and the people who ignore caste-based privileges and caste-based violence, that enough is enough,” said Shambhavi, 26, as she and dozens of demonstrators chanted against government slogans in the center of the capital.
In Calcutta, protesters burned a large image of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh who is also a hard-line Hindu priest.
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