The Yogi regime is trying to stigmatise legitimate outcry on the Hathras murder

Remarks by senior police officers to the effect that there was no evidence of rape — citing the absence of semen in swabs taken for forensic analysis — indicated an official reluctance to acknowledge the gang-rape part of the offence. Latest reports suggest that a journalist on his way to Hathras and three others have been detained. They are also sought to be linked to the Popular Front of India, an organisation whose name came up in connection with recent riots and anti-government protests. This raises the suspicion of an attempt to control the narrative by resorting to a template of identifying members of a communal organisation as alleged conspirators and instigators of violence. The template includes the use of penal provisions relating to sedition and conspiracy and the projection of a theory that all protests and political activity against it constitute a plot to overthrow the government. A responsive government would have endeavoured to extend a healing touch, reassure the victims, and reserve its wrath for the offenders. Instead, the Adityanath government is focusing on blaming political leaders, pressuring the victim’s family and preventing the emergence of a united voice against sexual violence, attacks on the marginalised communities and the devastating effect an unregenerate caste hierarchy has on society.

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