Unnao Deaths: Two Dalit girls dead, third one battling for her life. Initial postmortem report inconclusive on the cause of death

Yesterday around 3 pm, three Dalit girls in Baburaha village of Unnao in Uttar Pradesh went to the farm to get fodder. In the evening, they were found unconscious in the field. Two of them died at the hospital, the third one is undergoing treatment at Kanpur. Initial postmortem report is inconclusive on the cause of death.

Neetu Singh
| Updated: February 18th, 2021

Bodies of the two dead Dalit girls being brought to their village in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. Pic: Neetu Singh, Gaon Connection

Unnao, Uttar Pradesh

Three kilometres from the Asoha police range, in Baburaha village of Unnao district, yet another gruesome incident of the death of Dalit girls has happened under mysterious circumstances. Two minor girls are dead and the third one is fighting for her life at a hospital in Kanpur. As per the initial postmortem report, the cause of death remains inconclusive.  Viscera test is to be done. 

Meanwhile, the dead bodies have just been brought to the village in an ambulance. 

It was yesterday, on February 17, when three girls of the same family left their home around 3 pm to bring fodder for the cattle. They went at the outskirts of the village to a farmland about a kilometre away. When they did not return till evening, the family members started searching for them. They found the girls lying unconscious in the mustard field. Two of them died at the hospital while the third one is battling for her life. 

This isn’t the first case of such death of Dalit girls in the state. Last September, a 19-year-old Dalit girls was raped and killed in Hathras. The same month, another 22-year-old Dalit girl was raped and killed in Balrampur. 

According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report, in the last one decade crimes against Dalits have risen by 37 per cent while the conviction rate in such crimes increased by merely 2.5 per cent. 

In 2019, with 11,829 cases, Uttar Pradesh saw the highest number of cases of crime against Dalits, followed by Rajasthan with 6,794 cases, and 6,544 cases in Bihar. 

As per the National Crime Records Bureau data for the year 2019, of a total of 89,292 cases of molestation registered across the country, 12,157 cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh alone. Odisha followed with 11,318 cases,  Maharashtra with 10,512 cases, Rajasthan registered 8,807 cases, and Madhya Pradesh recorded 5,607 cases.

Read: Caste Matters: A woman, who is also a Dalit, is doubly cursed

Mysterious deaths

As per the family members of the deceased girls, the spot where the girls were found, the mustard crop seemed crushed. Every day the girls used to visit the field, about a kilometre from the village, to fetch fodder. The incident has shook the villagers and there is both anger and shock.

“Like every day, the girls went to bring fodder. When they did not return till evening, their father went to look for them and found them lying unconscious and tied with dupatta [long scarf]. All the three girls are from the same family,” one of the deceased’s mother told Gaon Connection.

“Yesterday, before leaving home, she cleaned the house. Made morning tea for the family members. We have no enmity with anyone. Don’t know who killed our girls,” she said while crying.

Pic: Neeti Singh, Gaon Connection

The deceased girl’s sister-in-law has alleged that the male members of their family were taken away by the police. “Girls of our family died and members of our family only were made to sit at the police station. Last night, the police took away my husband. Today morning they also taken away my father-in-law,” she told Gaon Connection. “Since yesterday, our phones have also been confiscated,” she alleged. 

However, the Unnao Police has dismissed such allegations.

Except the family members of the deceased, no one else in the village is ready to speak to the media. Representatives of several political parties have also landed in the village. 

“Yesterday when the girls were going to the field to bring fodder, I was standing at the entrance of my house and saw them. They were all laughing. Every day the three used to go together,” a neighbour told Gaon Connection

Meanwhile, police has become active in the case and arrived at the village last night. SP Anand Kulkarni told media that two girls have been declared dead by the hospital while treatment of the third one is going on. He also said that the deceased girl’s mother informed them that the girls were not tied with dupatta, though dupattas were found near them.

Read: Crime and Punishment: Gender violence survivors will benefit only if the police force adopts reforms

Also read: Fields of fear: How safe are women farmers and agricultural labourers from gender violence?