On March 29, Delta Meghwal, a 17 year old Dalit girl from a village near Barmer district of Rajasthan, was found dead in the water tank of her hostel. When the police was called in, they took her body in a garbage tractor without videographing it. The institution has claimed that her death was a suicide. They claimed that Delta had been caught in the PT teacher’s room, and committed suicide after the administration issued a warning and demanded an apology from her and the teacher, Vijendra Kumar. The FIR filed by Delta’s parents in the case states that Meghwal had called her father saying she was raped on 28 March and that she was subjected to caste abuse by the hostel warden. Allegedly, the warden asked her to clean the room of a male Physical Education teacher, who allegedly raped and killed her.
Deaths which are inconvenient to the society have routinely been labelled as suicides with the state machinery doing their very best to cover-up tracks. Was that the case with Delta Meghwal too? Here, we carry a couple of reactions to Delta’s death
Anjum Singh, who met Delta’s father, has shared a few childhood pictures of Delta and writes:[pullquote align=”full”] Delta ka murder humare samaj ka bht Bada loss hai. Itni intelligent ladki jo bacchpan se Hi har kaam mai first rahi, apne or apne parents ke sapna pure karne ke liye Itne remote village mai rehne ke bad bhi apni ankho mai teacher banne ka sapna liye, jo itni dur Padne ke liye ayi. Wo us teemori gaon ki pehle Aisi ladki thi Jisne 12th class pass ki thi. Or us gaon se bahar nikli thi Padne ke liye. Per is brahmanwadi jatiwadi samaj ne uske sath uske sapno ko bhi yahi khatam kar diya, per sathiyo agar hum sab ne mil kar delta ko justice nhi dilaya to fir kabhi us gaon se koi bacchi bahar nhi niklegi koi apne bachi ko nhi padayega . Aaj ye sirf ek delta ka murder nhi hua hai, murder hua hai un sapno ka jo uske Maa baap me dekhe the murder hua hai un umeedo ka jo sabhi delta se Lagaye hue the, ki delta bht padh kar teacher ban ke apne gaon mai ek missal banegi baki ladkiyo ki liye. Murder hua hai us inspiration ka us motivation ka jo wo apne gaon ki baki ladkiyo ke liye kayam karti. Kal jab hum delta ke papa se mile toh unhone bhi yahi baat keh Dali ki ye sab hone ke bad is gaon mai ab koi bhi apni Beti ko 10th ke age na padaye or apni bacchiyo ko bahar toh bilkul bhi nhi bhejega. Ye statement mujhe bht pareshan kar rhi hai. Sathiyo Hume delta ke liye justice Lena hi hoga,kyuki yeh sirf ek Akeli delta ka murder nhi hoga ye murder hoga unsabhi Goan mai rehne wali ladkiyo ke future ka. Jinhe is incident ke bad koi Maa baap age Padne nhi denge. Please rise your voice and demand justice for Delta Meghwal.
Yashica Dutt, a New York based journalist, writes[pullquote align=”full”] What Happens When A Dalit Girl Gets Raped?
You might never hear about it. If you did, it would be so far from you. Geographically. Economically. Culturally. You would already have outraged enough about the rapes that you do hear about. So it would be exhausting to squeeze those last drops of empathy for yet another one. After all, don’t these Dalit women get raped all the time? Even if they are not entirely used to it, don’t they at least somewhat expect it by now?
The thing is, Delta Meghwal, a 17 year old student at Jain Adarsh Teacher Training Institute for Girls in Bikaner, Rajasthan, didn’t expect it. Neither did her parents. They didn’t expect the hostel warden, Priya Shukla, to conspire to get her raped by the PT teacher Vijendra Singh, whose room she sent her to clean. (Which makes one wonder why is a fees paying student being used as unpaid labor by the school administration? Ah, right. She is Dalit). Delta’s father, in a hundred years, did not expect to receive a chilling phone call from his terrified daughter, saying that her PT teacher raped her. Delta herself didn’t expect that minutes later, she would be signing a letter stating that the rape was in fact mutual, which the school authorities would force her to do. And she certainly didn’t expect that her murdered body would be found in an enclosed water tank next day, only to be hauled in a GARBAGE TRUCK and conveniently labeled as suicide.
But here’s what they could expect. That the school will not record any evidence of the reported murder. That perhaps it will affect no one except the Dalit community. That the news hungry media cycle, easily outraged at a few students shouting slogans, would find it hard to cover, what is clearly institutional rape and murder. That the upper castesplainers will pressure that we ‘look beyond’ caste, when caste is exactly the reason why the school presumed they could get away with it.
And they were right. Delta Meghwal is dead. And she should have expected it.
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Will Delta Meghwal get justice?
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