Crime & Justice

Raped, humiliated in public: the cruel practice of patriarchy in India

By Indira Guerrero

New Delhi, Feb 14 (EFE).- In eastern New Delhi several barricades cordon off the area where Malika was beaten, raped and humiliated in public by the family of a young man who committed suicide after she rejected his proposal of love; the entire incident revealing the cruelty of patriarchy cultivated in India.

Taxi drivers refuse to approach Kasturba Nagar, a dangerous neighborhood of traffickers and sellers of illegal alcohol. One of its inhabitants pointed out, “There, in that street,” referring to where several weeks ago Malika (a pseudonym to protect the identity of the victim) was humiliated in public.

No one, except those who live there, are allowed to enter the street where Malika’s father’s house is located, and a few meters away stood the room where she was beaten, raped, and humiliated.

Videos of the incident show Malika lying on the ground while half a dozen women scream at her, and record the scene on their phones.

Other videos showed the 20-year-old girl being paraded on the street with her head shaven, face blackened and a garland of shoes on her neck, while a crowd of people from the vicinity humiliate, hit and abuse her.

Now in the neighborhood it seems that no one witnessed what happened, everyone has alibis: they were sleeping, working or attending a family function.

“They lie, everyone here knows what happened that day, we were all there, but no one will speak,” says a man in the neighborhood aloud referring to the silence of the neighbors.

The crime was the result of a family revenge in the wake of the suicide of a young man.

For the boy’s family, Malika was the cause of his death, after for years he tried unsuccessfully to woo her, despite the fact that she was married and had a two-year-old son.

In the now-abandoned room, one can still see the markings made by the police on the evidence, such as the tufts of Malika’s hair on the floor after being cut with blades.

The family “thought they lost their son because of her,” a neighbor who identified himself as a police informant told EFE. He agreed to narrate what happened on condition of anonymity.

“They locked her, beat her, cut her hair forcibly, painted her face black, and paraded her publicly with a garland of shoes,” he said from behind his house garage as he feared being found out by his neighbors.

“Everyone was having fun,” he stressed.

The women who tortured Malika “made their juvenile children do everything to her (…) from sexual abuse to beating her, everything,” he said referring to rape.

A police officer, who asked not to be named, told EFE that that day several boys, aged 15-17, put their genitals on the victim’s face, on being encouraged by their mothers.

“The investigation is underway,” local police inspector R. Sathiyasundaram told EFE, adding that 20 people, most of them women and four minors, have so far been arrested.

The neighborhood informer confided that he was the one who called the police. “I did it for my four daughters, whom I love as if they were four boys.”

Renowned academic and researcher Ranjana Kumari has done a thorough analysis of the attack. According to her, the fact that this girl, considered inferior, could cause the suicide of a man in the neighborhood, put a mark on her, her family and her caste.

Kumari underlined that while the boy’s family was attacking her to get supposed revenge, the entire community too was involved in castigating her.

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