Against the brutal rape and murder of a six-year-old girl child in Hisar, Haryana on 8th December, a protest was organised on 12 December at Haryana Bhawan, New Delhi. The protest was organised by several women’s organisations, students’ organisations and other progressive groups including AIDSO, AIDWA, AIDMAM, AIMSS, AISA, DYFI, NFIW, Pinjra Tod, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, RDMA, Saheli, Swastik Mahila Samiti, WSS and others.

Speakers at the protest said that, this incident is reminiscent of the brutal December 16 2012 gang rape and murder in Delhi. What is especially disturbing is that the child was apparently abducted from her own home in a slum where she had gone to bed with her mother. The mother woke in the morning to find the child missing. We are concerned that four days after the rape and murder, the perpetrators are yet to be identified and arrested.

They said, in Haryana in particular, and in our country in general, the prevailing ‘khap panchayat’ culture perpetuates violence against Dalits and women. They are seen as easy prey. Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana even defended khap panchayats by saying that ‘girls should dress decently in order not to lure boys.’ Further, the Haryana has issued advertisements describing the ‘ghoonghat’ (veil) as Haryana’s pride. All this has emboldened perpetrators. Today, Dalits, women, children, and religious minorities are especially vulnerable in Haryana and in our country, with every day bringing news of some new atrocity.

Speakers demanded that the probe into the incident be expedited and the perpetrators brought to justice. They also demanded an end to state patronage of such violence, and punishment for perpetrators.