Pregnant dalit woman killed in Uttar Pradesh because she 'touched' a bucket
It's hard to believe we are living in 2017!
October 15 was a usual day for Savitri Devi. Though eight-months-pregnant, she still continued to pick garbage from homes in Khetalpur Bhansoli village in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr district. She earned Rs 100 every month for doing her job. At around 9 am, a rickshaw passed by Savitri Devi and she lost her balance. In order to save herself from falling over, heavily pregnant Savitri took support of a bucket kept nearby. And that led to her death, along with the death her unborn child.
Why Savitri Devi Was Killed For Touching a Bucket
Now, you may wonder how an action as innocent as this could lead to someone's death. Well, unfortunately the answer lies in the class divide that still exists in India. Turned out, Savitri was a dalit. She belonged to the Valmiki community in the village. The bucket she accidently touched belonged to Anju, an upper caste Thakur. When Anju saw Savitri touching her bucket, she went red with anger. After all, how could another human being, who was born into a different caste than hers, touch her prized bucket! In her eyes, the crime was big enough to beat the pregnant dalit.
She ran out of her house and punched Savitri on her stomach. And she didn't stop. She kept punching her over and over again. When she was done, Anju banged Savitri's head against the wall. She kept accusing her of 'defiling' her bucket. In other words, Anju felt the dalit touching her bucket had turned it into something impure. Soon enough, she was joined by her son Rohit. The mother-son duo picked up sticks and beat Savitri with it, leaving her grievously injured.
Savitri Devi's Neighbours Tried To Help Her
While Anju and her son were busy assaulting Savitri, her nine-year-old daughter Manisha watched her mother getting beaten. As she couldn't stop them herself, she rushed for help. Manisha ran to the dalit colony and asked people there to rescue her mother. When Savitri's neighbour Kusuma Devi reached the spot along with a few other people, she saw Savitri with serious injuries. The people tried to stop the attackers and pulled Savitri away.
What Happened To Savitri Devi after the Incident
"We took her to the district hospital to get her admitted. But the doctors there refused. They said since there is no bleeding and no external injuries, we could go home. When we returned, my wife was in a lot of pain. Savitri particularly had pain in her stomach. On October 21, her condition deteriorated. Later she fainted. We had to call an ambulance and we took her to the hospital," said Savitri's husband Dileep in an interview to AajTak stringer Mukul Sharma.
Savitri suffered from major injuries and her family got her admitted to the hospital for treatment. But, it was too late. Savitri had already lost her unborn child after the attack. On October 21, Savitri Devi breathed her last. The post mortem report stated that she died because of 'antemortem head injury'.
Action against the Accused
After Savitri's death, her husband filed a complaint with the rural police station and named Anju and Rohit in the report.
"When Kumar approached us on October 18 with his wife, we ordered for a medico-legal test on her. The results claimed 'No injury'. It was only an external examination and there were no wounds, and the results claimed no injury, so we did not file a case then. Later, on October 20, when we visited the village and spoke to the eyewitnesses, we realised that Savitri was assaulted by Anju and her son and so, registered an FIR under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace)," said Tapeshwar Sagar, SHO, Kotwali (rural) police station, in an interview to the Indian Express.
"Since the post mortem says that a head injury caused her death, we have now added IPC sections 304 A (death by negligence), 316 (causing the death of the unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide) and provisions of SC/ST Act on Anju and her son," added superintendent of Police Pramod Kumar.
However, both Anju and her son are on the run and the police has not been able to make any arrests so far.
What Does Anju's Family Have To Say
Since both the accused are absconding, the ground-floor of the house is locked. The only person residing in the first two storeys is Anju's daughter Jyoti. She, however, has a different version to tell.
According to her, she has no idea where the rest of her family is. She said that her mother had given the bucket to a neighbour. On October 15, when she came out of the house, she saw Savitri holding it. As per Jyoti, her mother thought Savitri was stealing the bucket. This made her very angry. So, she fought with the pregnant woman. But, she did not beat her. Jyoti feels it's a ploy on part of the dalits in the village to frame the thakurs.
Whatever the case maybe, the fact can't be ignored that a woman lost her life. And for that, the accused must be punished.