Why didn’t fiery Dalit leader Ramdas Athawale lend his voice to Dalit victim of Hathras gang-rape?
Why didn’t fiery Dalit leader Ramdas Athawale lend his voice to Dalit victim of Hathras gang-rape?
Ramdas Athawale/Twitter

A 19-year-old Dalit woman, who was brutally gang-raped in a village in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district two weeks ago, succumbed to grievous injuries at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday morning, prompting outrage and protests across the country.

She was gang-raped on September 14 following which she was admitted to the AMU's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh.

Later she was shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital on Monday evening after her condition deteriorated.

The accused had also tried to strangulate her to death as she resisted their attempt and in the process, she bit her tongue and suffered a severe cut on it.

The four accused have already been arrested. We often read the news about rapes, however, the gruesome nature of this crime shook the conscience of the country.

Several leaders from the opposition, film fraternity have spoken about the crime. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and his supporters held a protest on Tuesday at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.

After the news broke, people raised objection over the mention of the victim's caste in news reports. Several opined that it is not right to mention her caste.

While all these things were going on, one of the staunch Dalit voices in the country was busy accompanying an actress to the Maharashtra Governor's house.

That leader is none other than Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale. He accompanied actress Payal Ghosh to the Raj Bhavan. Ghosh had accused Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap of raping her seven years ago.

This is not the first time we see Athawale standing up for an actress. The leader was also at the forefront in supporting Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut when BMC demolished her house. He even spoke for Disha Salian.

Now that we have seen him standing up for women who needed his help in Maharashtra, we assumed that the minister will provide equally strong support to the family of the victim in UP too.

However, Athawale just tweeted and condemned the incident. He also mentioned that he will meet UP CM Yogi Adityanth on October 3 to discuss the issue.

Given that Athwale is considered to be one of the known Dalit leaders in the country, we expected a strong outrage from the leader.

Whereas, the leader came up with a five-line tweet only after a reporter from a news channel asked him a question about the incident as to why he has not spoken against the incident yet. Thus, when he tweeted about the incident he was quite late. The news about the death of the victim was out around 10 am and the tweet by the minister came at 6.05 pm.

A similar dilly-dallying, however, was not observed in the case of actress Payal Ghosh. In this particular case, Athawale has already warned the Maharashtra government and has said that his Republican Party will launch an agitation soon if Anurag Kashyap is not arrested within the 7 days.

After the meeting with the Governor, when he was asked if he will meet the victim's family, the leader said that he will write a letter to UP CM and will try to meet her family. He did not speak of launching an agitation against the atrocity nor did he slam the law and order situation in the concerned state.

(With inputs from agencies)

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