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India: family of gang-rape-murder victim fear for their safety

THE family of a young Dalit woman who died after being gang raped in Uttar Pradesh asked to be moved to Delhi today, amid fears for their safety.

It comes amid a growing backlash from Hindu nationalists in India against the family and those angry over the government’s poor response to the case.

Protesters from the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW ) and All India Progressive Women Federation (AIPWA) were arrested and charged after being attacked by police in Hathras last week.

They were responding to the brutal gang rape and murder of 19-year-old Dalit woman Manisha Balkimi on September 14.

“Today, again [Uttar Pradesh] police detained us for four hours [during a] protest against increasing violence on women and Dalits in UP,” Aidwa said in a statement.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) warned in a statement earlier this month that “many comrades have been injured.”

“The dictatorial tactics of the … government will be fought on streets every day.”

India has seen a growing number of protests in the last month as people demand justice for Ms Balkimi.

She died in a government hospital in Delhi 15 days after the assault and her body was cremated in the middle of the night by government administrators.

The family claim that the cremation happened without their consent and that they were locked inside their house when they tried to protest.

Delays in reporting the incident as a rape crime by the police delayed medical treatment for the victim.

The illegal cremation of the woman’s body, as well as the failure of the government to protect women against rape and violence is emblematic of the corrupt system in Uttar Pradesh, campaigners have said.

The family requested that the state move them to Delhi and asked for the case to be dealt with there to ensure their safety.

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