A 13-year-old Indian girl was beheaded when she refused to have sex with her neighbor in southern India. Police believe that the man who was in a higher caste system believed he had a right to the girl sexually. After she refused, he turned violent, reports CNN.
“The girl was brutally murdered. The investigation is ongoing and the accused has been arrested,” said the senior police official for the district, Ponkarthik Kumar.
Local media is reporting that the accused, Dinesh Kumar, attacked the young girl with a farm equipment in a small village near Attur in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. The girl had been harassed by this older man before. She told her mother of this mans sexual advances which she repeatedly turned down. But the family was helpless as they were part of the lower caste system.
The family is part of the lower castes, known as the Dalits, who are often abused by the upper class. Dalits are often discriminated against and denied education and employment.
“Why does the establishment not show the strength? Such incidents are constantly happening. When we are pushing for advocacy, the political will must be questioned, or the lack of political will must be questioned,” said Radhika Ganesh, a political activist who has been advocating for Dalit rights. “The reason behind the violence is the high level of politicization of caste-based politics. Because of that, there is extensive abuse of political power.”
Caste-based crimes have been growing in India. There were over 47,000 crimes against lower castes in 2016. In 1989, India put in laws to criminalize caste-based violence but that hasn’t curbed crimes against the Dalits.
“Caste is an open sort of practice accepted in Tamil Nadu. Everyone is silent about it and the silence is tantamount to creating the violence around it,” Ganesh told CNN.