The Hathras Case demonstrated that the media is always overeager to exploit the fault-lines within Hindu society and peddle a caste narrative around crimes even when there is none on the face of it. The Hathras Case, during the initial phase of the reporting and according to details that were revealed much later, was prompted by a family feud. But that did not prevent the media from inserting a caste angle to the crime. A similar phenomenon was observed in the aftermath of a rape at Barabanki.
On Wednesday, the body of a teenage girl was recovered from a paddy field in Barabanki. As it so happened, the deceased girl was a Dalit. But even before anything more was known about the crime, the media rushed to highlight the caste of the victim in an effort to give the crime a caste angle. At this point, nothing was known about the identity of the sexual predator. But the proceeded along those lines anyway.
“Weeks after the Hathras horror, another Dalit girl was allegedly raped and strangulated in a village in Barabanki district on Wednesday,” reported Indian Express. The insinuation was obvious, an attempt was made to draw a connection between the narrative of ‘Dalit girl raped by four Upper Caste men at Hathras’ and the current instance.
AajTak went a step further in their efforts to create another Hathras since their first attempt at muddying the waters for their political agenda had failed spectacularly. In their headline, in addition to the deceased’s Dalit identity, allegations made by the relatives about the Police supposedly suppressing the case was also highlighted. It was quite obvious where the media was going with this.
Hindustan Times, too, reported on the matter highlighting the caste of the girl. It is almost as if the media believes that a crime as heinous as rape or murder is not as bad if the victim is not a Dalit girl. Therefore, they feel compelled to add a caste narrative to their reports even when there is no indication that the caste of the victim is relevant at all.
Scroll, like many others, joined in the trend as well. They unashamedly connected the Barabanki rape to the Hathras Case and took special care to mention that the 19 year old girl at Hathras was allegedly raped by “four Upper Caste Thakur men”. There was no connection between the two rapes at all but truth cannot be permitted to interfere with the media’s chosen narrative.
Where there is a corpse, how could vultures be far behind? And thus it happened that former Congress president (and son of the current one) Rahul Gandhi entered the picture and attempted to use the heinous crime to target the Uttar Pradesh government. He claimed that the Yogi government was “once again trying to save the accused by suppressing facts rather than providing justice to the victim’s family.” He asked, “How many more girls? And how many Hathras?”
Truth, however, has a way of surfacing eventually and more often than not, tends to dispel the narrative that is sought to be crafted by motivated actors who are more interested in their political agenda than justice. On Friday, the Police arrested the sexual predator responsible for the heinous crime and as it turns out, much to the disappointment of the media and politicians such as Rahul Gandhi, there is no caste-angle to the crime.
As per reports, the police has arrested a 19-year old distant relative of the victim in connection with the crime. The accused, identified as Dinesh Gautam, has reportedly confessed to the crime. He hails from the same village as the victim. The Police had initially registered a case of murder but after the post-mortem report confirmed sexual assault, rape charges were added as well. Relevant sections of the POCSO have also been added after the police confirmed that the girl is a minor.
“After registering the FIR, we formed three teams to identify the accused. On the basis of digital evidence and ground information, we arrested the accused. He has confessed to the crime and has given us other details of the incident. We are verifying the information provided by him,” Additional SP Ram Sevak Gautam said.