New Delhi: Angered by the Delhi Police’s refusal to register an FIR, the family of a teen dalit domestic help, who was found dead in her workplace, held a protest here on Sunday. They were joined by several dalit and rights organisation members.
“We sweep homes, keep cities beautiful and clean, if we do not feel secure and get justice, nobody will get justice in this country,” said one of the protesters, who had joined the girl’s family in solidarity.
The protesters demanded justice for a teen dalit domestic worker who was found dead at her workplace in North Delhi’s posh Model Town Area earlier this month. The protest was held outside the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Ashok Vihar area.
The victim belonged to a dalit family from Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh. The family has been alleging foul play in their daughter’s death. However, the Delhi Police, even after nearly a month has passed, has not registered any First Information Report (FIR) so far.
The protesters, belonging to various youth and progressive organisations including Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, Parivatangami Chhatra Sangathan, Students’ Federation of India, Progressive and Democratic Student Union and Lawyers against Atrocity, were stopped near the police station after they began their march on October 25.
Sumit Kataria, president of the Delhi Unit of SFI, told NewsClick: “I fail to understand this reluctance of Delhi Police where there are ample provisions and evidences to register an FIR. The area where this alleged rape and murder took place is very close to the Delhi University and hosts thousands of girl students who live alone and far from their families. A sexual misconduct is reported and there is no action from police. How would it keep these girl students safe if this remains the attitude of police in the capital of India.”
A domestic worker, who joined the protest and wished anonymity, said: “We spend more time in our workplaces than our homes. Our children stay at home while we do back-breaking work. It is not this case alone. There has to be some surety from police that we are safe at our places.”
Sujit from the DSU alleged: “The girl who worked as a maid and her family are being treated in this manner only because they are poor and hail from a marginalised community. A girl has been allegedly raped and there is no action. When we protest, the police beat us. Is this how you deliver justice? I can’t say much but all we want is the police to register the FIR, interrogate the accused and justice be delivered through a fast track court.”
Also read: A Dalit Family’s Battle for Justice and Dignity in the National Capital
Commenting on the police’s response, Ashutosh Kumar Mishra from Lawyers Against Atrocity, who is also representing the family in the case, told NewsClick: “In this country, one can get the FIR registered for littering, yet it is strange that the police did not register the case even after 22 days of misconduct. The Supreme Court ruled in Lalita Kumari versus Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2013 that even if there is allegation of sexual misconduct and it is a cognisable offence, the police must register the case under Section 173 of Indian Penal Code.”
He further added, “The girl who died in the case had called the family two hours before the death and said she was not feeling safe. If the police is confident that there was no foul play, let it register the case, investigate and file the closure report. Why is there so much reluctance? When I went to meet the policemen when the family was booked under the Epidemic Act, they said the family had broken the flower pots. This family lost their daughter and these men are concerned about flower pots!”
Meanwhile, the victim’s aunt, who has been grieving her loss, could only manage to say a few words, “I want justice, nothing more!”