The widows from custodial deaths and extrajudicial killings in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh are left struggling to make ends meet for their families. Data shows the state has recorded the highest number of custodial deaths in the country since 2020. Police high-handedness in everyday governance is not unknown either. Referring to extrajudicial killings in the Bharatiya Janata Party-run state, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said in his speeches that over 150 'criminals' were killed between 2017 and 2021 in Uttar Pradesh.
State-sponsored violence has impoverished women and their children further in the events of these killings—education and nutrition of children have taken a backseat, and the fight for justice seems a distant reality. Interviews with activists, lawyers show violence is a norm in the state, and Muslims and Dalits bear a disproportionate brunt of it.
Despite government promises on improved security of women in Uttar Pradesh, police excesses and tortures continue to be a major human rights issue in the state. The project will dig into how the lives of these families have panned out since the killings.