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Who killed Rakhi? In UP's Muzaffarnagar, justice eludes a Dalit girl who died after being raped

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22nd October, 2019 06:30 IST

On the brick wall of a nearly bare room, hung picture of a young girl, the picture is grainy, enlarged perhaps from the school identity card. A bead garland adorns the picture frame, signalling that the young girl in the picture is dead. The young girl in the picture is Rakhi.

Rakhi lived in Bhurahedi village, near Purkazi town in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh. She was all of 15, a Class 8 student and a Dalit. She was the second of five children – three girls and two boys – of Virpal, a daily wage worker, and Deepa, a casual labourer. Rakhi also toiled in the fields as a casual wage worker and in the forest nearby with her mother and other women from their Dalit basti, gathering munj grass used for making ropes and baskets.

On May 8, 2018, she was alone at home. Her father was at work and her mother had gone to another village. Though it was Tuesday, Rakhi had skipped school. This was not unusual. She would often stay away from school to help at home or to work for wages whenever this was possible. Her neighbour came to fetch her: work was available in the adjoining Dhamat village....

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