New Delhi, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- Dozens of students held protests Friday in New Delhi after the bodies of two girls from the Dalit community – the marginalized outcasts of the Hindu society – were found on their family farm in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The bodies, allegedly discovered on Wednesday night with their hands and legs tied with clothes, were buried in Babuhara village of Unnao district, some 40 km south of the state capital of Lucknow.
The mysterious deaths of the teenage Dalit girls triggered student protests.
The protesters demanded the resignation of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his alleged failure to protect the people from the formerly untouchable community.
The demonstration was organized by the Left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA).
The student body said police detained dozens of their activists who were protesting and demanding justice for Unnao victims.
“Under the Yogi government attacks on Dalits and women are rising. Rather than ensuring justice, this is what (the ruling) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is doing. Harassing protesters and denying justice,” AISA said in a statement.
Villagers on Wednesday night had found three girls, aged 16, 15, and 14, in a field hours after they had left their home to collect cattle fodder.
The residents rushed the girls, all related to each other, to a hospital where doctors declared two of them dead.
The eldest of them was on Friday battling for her life at a hospital, police said.
A preliminary autopsy report indicated that the girls had died of consuming some poisonous substance.
“Doctors have said there were symptoms of poisoning. We are recording statements of all the people concerned and an in-depth probe is being conducted,” Superintendent of Police Sureshrao A Kulkarni told reporters.
Uttar Pradesh, particularly its Unnao district, has often been in the news for violence against women in recent years.
In 2019, a woman in Unnao was charred to death when she was on her way to testify against her alleged rapists.
A lawmaker from the ruling BJP was convicted of rape in 2019.
In September last year, a young woman from the Dalit community was allegedly gang-raped and killed by upper caste men in a village in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.
The incident triggered widespread protests demanding justice and an end to violence against the Dalits who figure at the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy, have suffered centuries of discrimination and continue to endure atrocities despite laws to protect them. EFE-EPA