This is the harrowing moment a 19-year-old struggled to speak as she claimed she had been “raped and strangled” before officials tried to “cover up” the crime.
Manisha Valmiki was found by her mother in a field, semi-conscious, seriously injured and naked from the waist down, near the village of Hathras in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India.
She claimed she had been raped by four men who strangled her when she resisted, but when her family took her to the local police station, she was left outside on a concrete slab while officers interrogated her.
Manisha, who suffered crippling spinal injuries, later died in hospital on September 29, 2020, two weeks after the alleged attack.
Channel 4’s latest Dispatches documentary, India’s Rape Scandal, which aired last night, explored how Manisha’s authorities failed after police initially refused to register the crime and hospital staff were too scared to conduct a rape investigation.
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Manisha Valmiki claimed she had been raped by four men who strangled her when she resisted, but when her family took her to the local police station, she was left outside on a concrete slab while officers interrogated her (pictured)
In India, a rape is reported to the police every 15 minutes, but it is estimated that more than 90 percent of such attacks go unreported.
One of the cases that journalist and broadcaster Ramita Navai has been investigating is that of Manisha Valmiki, whose tragic story went viral after footage showed her after the attack struggled to speak while naming the accused.
The footage shows Manisha bruised with red marks around her neck as she tries to talk with her tongue after being cut during the alleged attack.
When the police, who left her outside on a concrete slab, ask: ‘why did they strangled you’, she replies: ‘I didn’t want him to force himself on me. I resisted him as he forced himself on me.’
Shockingly, the police did not register that a rape had taken place and even failed to call an ambulance for the injured woman.
Manisha was found by her mother (pictured) in a field, semi-conscious, seriously injured and naked from the waist down, near the village of Hathras in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India.
Later, at the hospital, Manisha repeated her claim and named her attackers – but only after the images sparked an international media storm did the police commissioner record the gang rape and arrest all four suspects.
A medical examination took place eight days after the attack, but unsurprisingly, there was hardly any evidence at the time.
Manisha came from a low caste family and her attackers were high caste with the caste determining their status and occupations in India.
The doctors at the hospital she was eventually taken to were mostly Muslim, a group that feared Uttar Pradesh’s prime minister, Yogi Adityanath, whose office was accused of complicity in the cover-up in the Manisha case.
As such, the doctors said they were too scared to conduct a rape investigation until police registered the assault.
Soon, widespread protests began, with civil rights groups marching to the hospital, and Manisha was transferred to another establishment for life-saving treatment.
Journalist and presenter Ramita Navai (pictured) explores Manisha’s tragic story during the documentary
However, after a four-hour drive without medical supplies or a doctor on board, police took Manisha to an inferior hospital where she died on September 29.
Her family suffered even more when police forcibly cremated her body without allowing them to see her or perform Hindu funeral rites.
‘She’s my daughter. I gave birth to her. How can you be so inhuman?’ Manisha’s mother cried in footage featured in the documentary, in which the distressed parent threw herself onto a vehicle and begged officials to see her child.
But her pleas are ignored, and instead the family was kept in their home by officers while Manisha was cremated on a quickly built fire with only one elderly neighbor.
Four men are now awaiting trial, with the presenter explaining: “The trial of the four men accused by Manisha has been delayed by COVID. Their lawyer claims that Manisha’s video statements about the rape were fabricated.
Response: Viewers were left ‘sick’ by Manisha’s tragic death, with a writing: ‘Feel nauseous, shocked and angry at what I’ve just seen.’
“There are allegations that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office has tried to cover up this gang rape and have tried to protect the accused.”
But their lawyer AP Singh claimed that Manisha’s video “acted” outside the police station and that her death was an “honour killing” and a “conspiracy to defame the government”.
“Women lie and file to,” he says. “There was no rape. This was a case of honor killing. In the video she was directed. She was acting.
“This was a conspiracy to defame the government. Yogi Adityanath would never protect a perpetrator. He would never do that.’
Viewers were left ‘sick’ by Manisha’s tragic death, with one writing: ‘Feel nauseous, shocked and angry at what I’ve just seen.’
“This is a really hard watch, absolutely horrible. Poor Manisha,” wrote another, while a third added, “OMG… so angry to see this. Those poor women and the women of the lower caste in India.’