“MAJOR RUCKUS IN THE village right now,” Tanushree Pandey, a correspondent with India Today TV, tweeted at 1.44 am on 30 September 2020. “UP cops & officials forcing kin to cremate body overnight. Family begging that let us at least take the girl home one last time.”
Pandey was in the village of Boolgarhi, in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district. There, two weeks earlier, a young Dalit woman had been raped by four men of the dominant Thakur caste. She was left paralysed and with a severed tongue. Uttar Pradesh authorities tried to ignore the atrocity, but as details emerged and public outrage mounted they arrested the accused. The victim died from her injuries at a Delhi hospital on 29 September. Her body had just been brought back home.