On 17 February, Wednesday evening, three Dalit girls were found lying unconscious in their family field where they had gone to collect fodder in the afternoon. The family had conducted a search after the girls did not return home till the evening after leaving home at around 3 pm in the afternoon. The incident occurred in Baburha village under Asoha police station of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh yesterday.
The police were informed, and the unconscious girls were shifted to a nearby hospital. According to an India Today report, Unnao SP Anand Kulkarni informed that two girls died at the hospital. The third girl was critical and she was then referred to the district hospital. The police stated that in the initial investigation, witness statements said that a lot of froth was found at the spot and the families suspect a case of poisoning.
The India Today report also stated that the mother of one of the victims have stated that the clothes of the girls looked fine and even the scarf tied around her neck was not out of place. She also asserted that the hands and feet of the girls were not tied.
A report by The Quint stated that though an IANS report had claimed that one family member said the hands and feet of the girls were tied, it has yet to be confirmed and the bodies were removed before the police arrived. The report also mentioned that the preliminary examination found no signs of violence or struggle at the spot.
The police also stated that there were prima facie no injury marks on the bodies of the girls, though the police will be looking at all possible angles.
India Today anchor contradicts their own published report, peddles caste angle and other speculations
However, it is interesting that what India Today publishes in their report, and what their anchor claims on TV and social media are two entirely different things. Here is India Today anchor Akshita Nandgopal starting her report (hours after their own published report said there were no hands and feet tied) by claiming that the hands and feet were tied. She mentions later that India Today has no clear picture yet and “it is all sketchy”.
Two girls found dead in a field in UP’s #Unnao; #DishaRavi moves Delhi HC for direction to Delhi Govt, Delhi Police to not leak any material concerning #Toolkit FIR and other major news of the day with @Akshita_N. pic.twitter.com/QtGJtycotW— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) February 18, 2021
The anchor repeats the caste angle claim, repeats the rhetoric of “deteriorating law and order situation in UP”. She even claims that the girls are Dalit and adds that “There is a caste angle that is being looked into. though I don’t want to say this, the reality is that these girls were Dalits and perhaps that what has got to do with the crime itself”.
The anchor then proceeds to claim that the third girl who is critical, has been “badly injured”. The anchor then repeats the “deteriorating law and order situation in UP” rhetoric, without providing any basis, just repeating the hollow claims mentioning Congress and SP, who are in the opposition in the state, and without bothering to reflect whether UP is the only state where crimes against women are being reported.
It is not clear why the India Today anchor contradicts their own published report. But a look at some tweets by some specific individuals may put some clarity to where this is leading. The earlier published report by India Today had already included a specific section on “Dalit Groups’ demanding better treatment for the critical girl.
Usual gang activated to peddle caste politics, anti-Yogi angle based on pure speculations
The report had cited Bhim Army chief Chandra Sekhar Azad demanding that the critical girl be shifted to AIIMS Delhi. The government has stated that the girl is getting adequate treatment in Kanpur and there are no immediate plans to shift her to Delhi.
However, even if initial investigation says there was no signs of struggle at the scene, no visible injuries on the girls, no signs of their clothes being disturbed, there are certain individuals who have already decided what direction they want to steer the incident’s narrative into. Some examples:
Bhim Army’s Chandrasekhar Azad, who failed to stir up the chaos he had hoped for in the Hathras case demands that the postmortem be conducted at AIIMS, Delhi, by a panel that includes SC/ST doctors and the survivor should be shifted to AIIMS, Delhi. He is setting a worrisome narrative here. Azad’s tweet suggests that the Dalit community should not trust non-Dalit doctors. This is what the likes of Azad want in the society. Doctors profiled on the basis of their caste.
The usual ‘left-liberal’ gang is already activated. They are already decided that this case is to be peddled as another Hathras case, where a Dalit girl was strangulated and a media storm gathered claiming that she has been brutally raped and murdered, with her eyes gouged out, despite forensic reports saying that no signs of sexual violence were found on the body. It is notable here that the case of strangulation and attempt to murder had suddenly taken a massive political turn and started gathering national media attention after Azad’s visit to meet the victim last year.
Rohini Singh has claimed the three Dalit girls were found “tied up inside a forest”, despite ground reports and police saying that the girls were found in their own family field and the mother has denied ‘tied up’ claims.
Rohini Also peddled the family being put under house arrest narrative. The police have already denied this. The Unnao Police have stated that the media reports are false and no one from the victims’ family has been put under house arrest.
Rohini Singh seems hell bent to keep repeating the false claim that the girls were found ‘tied up in a forest’.
Swara Bhaskar also shared the #Save_Unnao_Ki_Beti hashtag like actors Amyra Dastur and Richa Chadha and many others. She even demanded resignation of the Yogi government for this incident.
The Hathras incident, the farmer protests and many such cases have proven how a coordinated group, including media, celebrities and politicians work to peddle lies and a specific narrative, even contradicting the facts and realities, to further a political narrative. Prima facie, the ground reports, the family statements and police statements say that the girls were found in the family field, without any visible injuries, without signs of struggle to suggest sexual violence, and that the initial examination suggests poisoning. The police have stated that the investigation is on. But the efforts are already on to peddle wild claims and further the narrative of the Dalit politics.