#JusticeforSnehlata: Dalit Girl Burnt Alive by ‘Upper’ Caste Men in Andhra Pradesh

The men had been harassing the girl repeatedly since school days claiming that they love her, authorities had taken no action despite complaints.

Protests for Snehlata

Andhra Pradesh: A 20-year-old Dalit girl, a National level Junior Hockey Player, was found dead in Ananthapuram, Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, 22 December.

Snehlata had been murdered in the evening at a field in Badannapalli village, by two ‘upper’ caste men- Rajesh and Karthik. She was burnt alive. Post mortem results are still awaited.

The men had been harassing the girl repeatedly since school days, claiming that they love her. Snehlata had to discontinue her hockey practice because Rajesh would constantly come near the hostel to harass her on the pretext of love.

However, no complaint was filed by the police even after the family had complained. Instead, the police had asked the family to change their location.

Dalit Activist Radhika Vemula had tweeted, “Dalit girl murdered (in the name of Love) in Ananthapur, AP. Snehalatha, a Bright Student & SBI (Out sourcing) Employee. She’s been harassed since her school days. Policeman suggested to migrate somewhere else instead of taking action against the accused. Shame on Police Dept.”

Snehlata was pursuing her second-year degree at Raghavendra Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Ananthapur. Due to crippling financial conditions, a mere 15 days prior to the incident she had begun working at SBI Dharmavaram, which was at a 35 to 45 KM distance from her house.

The Developments So Far

Many protests and candlelight vigils have been occurring around the village against the lack of action against authorities.

The family visited by leaders.

The government has provided Snehlata’s family with Rupees 10 lakh, five acres of land, and her mother has been provided employment in the Registers office. The family has been visited by the Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti leader Manda Krishna Madiga, the District Collector, and many Dalit leaders.

The parents are insisting that the investigation be pursued further. They are demanding a life sentence or capital punishment for the two accused. They are also demanding strict action against Prathap Reddy, the officer whose negligence and lack of response had caused such a drastic condition.

Rajesh,23 is the main accused in the murder, and Karthik was an accomplice. Both are currently in Police Custody while further investigation is underway.


The Hathras case that had happened earlier this year played a pivotal role in bringing to light the many atrocities faced by Dalit women at the hands of men from oppressive, privileged castes.

The recent Snehlata case is yet another gruesome reality of caste violence in India. The fact that a national-level hockey player had to stop going for training because men were harassing her is a matter of shame. The bigger shame is the lack of reaction from authorities who have been put in place to help.

The frequency with which these cases have been reported for years now is not to be taken lightly. In fact, it has come to an extent where the reader has become almost insensitive to them. This insensitivity seems to be reflecting amongst mainstream media too, considering the lack of coverage that these cases receive.

In an era where women are taking the lead, why does there continue to be so many women who are still left in darkness with no support whatsoever? What does that say about the extent of our feminism?


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June 2024


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