Published: 06th October 2020
University of Oxford faculty, students extend support to Hathras victim’s family, condemns ‘casteist’ regime
In a statement, they said that the UP government’s move of setting up a Special Investigation Team and transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation seemed ‘tokentistic’ to them
Students, faculty, staff and alumni of the University of Oxford have issued a solidarity statement in connection to the 'rising cases of caste and gender-based violence' after the Hathras incident. The Oxford community said it was horrified by the Hathras incident in Uttar Pradesh and that they condemn the ‘repressive’ manner in which the police and government authorities had conducted themselves in the last few weeks.
“We condemn the absolute apathy and repression with which the government has been dealing with them. The incident is yet another heinous manifestation of systemic sexual violence and caste-based atrocities in India,” the statement from Oxford said. “Abusing, harassing the victim’s family, locking up an entire village and restricting movement of the media, civil society and the political opposition are all hallmarks of an authoritarian and casteist regime and antithetical to the democratic and constitutional ideals that India was founded on,” the students and staff said in their statement.
The University in its statement said that the UP government’s move of setting up a Special Investigation Team and transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation seemed ‘tokentistic’ to them, “It only stands to shield the upper caste perpetrators of the crime.” They pointed out that while commissions of atrocities against Dalits and marginalised communities is not new but there had been a recent surge in these incidents, “We firmly believe the surge acts as a clarion call for Indians everywhere and particularly the Indian government to fulfil its constitutional and moral duty to fight against the oppressive systems of caste and patriarchy.”
The University's students and staff who wrote the letter said that they lend their unconditional support and solidarity to the victim’s family and Dalit and women’s organisations in India leading the fight against the intersecting systems of caste and patriarchy. “We acknowledge our privilege as members of the University of Oxford, which for many of us also intersects with our privilege as upper-caste, upper-class and/or male members of society and pledge to be allies in the struggle for annihilation of such privileges,” they added.