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Protests Follow Rape, Slaying of 9-Year-Old Dalit Girl

Killing of a member of India's lowest caste again brings street demonstrations
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2021 4:59 PM CDT
Outrage Follows Rape, Killing of Girl, 9, in India
Indians hold placards and listen to a speaker during a protest condemning the gang rape and killing of a Dalit woman in Bengaluru last October. Another such slaying has sparked protests this week in Delhi.   (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

(Newser) – Four men have been charged in the rape and slaying of a 9-year-old girl in India, sparking three days of street demonstrations against both the crime and the nation's treatment of the lowest caste in Hinduism. The child, whose name was not released, was found dead Sunday night, her body burned, near a crematorium in Delhi. She was a member of the Dalit community, NBC reports. India's constitution prohibits caste prejudice, though it persists. The founder of a women's rights group said most such attacks on women in the majority Hindu nation never become known. "The brutality from this incident is barbaric beyond words," Yogita Bhayana said. "And the saddest part is incidents like these are not rare. We see cases where Dalit women are killed, raped, and tortured daily."

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In 2019, an average of almost 90 rapes per day was reported in India, National Crime Records Bureau data show, per the Guardian. The nation's population of 1.3 billion includes 200 million Dalits. The gang rape and killing of a 19-year-old Dalit woman last fall met with similar public outrage, including multiday protests. "We are seeing a level of 'rape apathy' because cases like these are so common," said a Dalit rights activist. Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any senior leader of his party has said anything about the attack on the 9-year-old girl. Delhi's chief minister called the crime shameful, and the leader of the opposition party went to see her family Wednesday. "A Dalit's daughter is also the daughter of the country," he tweeted. (Read more India stories.)

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