Akku Yadav raped almost 200 women from slum towns in India. Yet he remained a free man for nearly a decade, as he routinely bribed corrupt officials, so they would drop his case. Yadav raped so many women that, according to the people living in the slum, “a rape victim lives in every other house there.”
Akku Yadav seemed like an invincible man, bribing the officers, and threatening the victims after they reported to the police. Akku raped more than 200 women from the Kasturba Nagar slum of New Delhi, India.
The fact that, during his trial, he walked past an angry woman in court and decided to taunt her, calling her a prostitute and threatening to rape her again, and the policeman who was escorting him laughed at the remark, perfectly illustrates the level of corruption among the officials.
The reason he was invincible for so long may surprise you: he targeted members of India’s “Untouchable” caste, the lowest members of society, who he knew would be the source of laughter if they went to police stations and lawyers’ offices, and this is exactly what happened when his victims went to the police: they were laughed upon.
Who was Akku Yadav?
Akku grew up in the Maharasthra slum of Kasturba Nagar. He had two brothers, Santosh and Yuvraj Yadav, and his father was a milkman. Yadav was a “high-caste” man who rose from a small-time thug to a mobster and slum king.
He was the leader of a gang of criminals that ruled the Kasturba Nagar slum. People were robbed, tortured, and killed by his gang. People in the slums were terrified of their gang and Akku himself; one resident described Yadav as Kasturba Nagar’s Gabbar Singh(Bollywood’s famous antagonist), saying, “We stayed mostly indoors when Akku was around.”
For the victims, the last option was to report to the police, which many did. However, instead of assisting the victims and arresting Akku Yadav, they would inform him that who came to the police station to file a complaint against him, which sometimes resulted in the victims being raped and sometimes losing their lives.
In one such incident when a rape victim went to the police station to file a report, instead of assisting her and arresting the man, they raped the woman as well. As a result, more than 20 families were forced to leave Kasturba Nagar.
Usha Narayane, one of the victims who had been harassed repeatedly by Akku Yadav, enlisted the assistance of her brother-in-law. They managed to avoid Akku Yadav and his gang and approached the deputy commissioner, who promised her a safe haven and that police would go on the hunt for Akku Yadav.
Usha had to go to the police commissioner because when she went to complain about Akku Yadav, the police informed Yadav about the complaint, and enraged by her actions, Yadav and forty of his associates surrounded Usha’s house.
Yadav carried a bottle of acid and yelled through the door that if she dropped the complaint, he would not harm her. Usha refused to surrender and barricaded her door; she called the police for assistance, who told her to wait; however, the police never arrived.
Meanwhile, Yadav continued to pound on the door and threatened her, saying, “I will throw acid on your face, and you will not be able to file any more complaints!” You have no idea what we’ll do to you if we ever meet! Gang rape is meaningless! You have no idea what we’ll do to you!”
In response to the goons encircling her house, Usha lit a gas cylinder and grabbed a match, warning everyone that if they broke into the house, she would light a match and blow herself and everyone else up. The goons smelled the gas and abandoned her.
When the neighbors found out what Narayane had done, they gathered and burned down Yadav’s house.
When he saw that everyone was turning against him, Yadav decided to surrender, but because he was bribing the police, it was unlikely that his surrender would have had any effect.
Police arrested Yadav, but when Narayane and other victims learned that he was likely to be released on bail, the crowd took matters into their own hands.
When Yadav appeared in the courtroom and mocked one of the victims, calling her a prostitute and saying he would rape her again, the police officer escorting her laughed.
This was it; she couldn’t take his face any longer and began hitting him in the head with her footwear. She told Yadav that either she would kill him or he would have to kill her, saying, “we can’t both live on this Earth together.”
When the other woman in the courtroom joined her in throwing chili powder in his face, throwing stones at his head, stabbing any part of him they could reach with their vegetable knives, his guards fled, terrified of the women.
Akku Yadav died after a 10-minute attack that included 70 stabs and a severed penis. His body was a gory mess, his blood staining the white marble of the courthouse.
Usha stated about the attack, “it was not calculated, it was not a case where we all sat down and calmly planned what would happen.” It was an emotional outburst, and the woman resolved that they would go to prison if necessary, but this man would never return to terrorize them.”
Police attempted to arrest five of the women responsible for the murder, but the rest of the women protested, and soon every woman in the slum had accepted responsibility for the murder.
Retired High Court Judge Bhau Vahane publicly defended the women who lynched Akku Yadav, saying, “In the circumstances they were put in, they had no choice but to finish Akku.” The women begged the police for protection on numerous occasions, but they were ignored. If they took the law into their own hands, it was because the law and law-enforcing agencies had failed to assist them.”
Due to a lack of evidence, all the remaining accused in the Akku Yadav murder case were released.
“We all waited for the police to act, but nothing happens. The molestation and rapes go on and nobody does anything,” said Madam Chandra, a women’s rights activist in Nagpur. She said the police had charged 60 people involved in the latest accident, including a rape victim, for “destruction of property.”.
The murder of Akku Ydav has at least opened the eyes of society to the crimes of Yadav and a hint of what a woman can do.
“After the murder, society’s eyes opened: the police’s failings came to light. That has irritated them,” Usha said.
“We’ve done a good thing for society, we will see whether society repay us.”