Hathras gangrape, midnight cremation and protests across nation: All you need to know
A 19-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped and tortured by ‘upper’ caste men in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras on September 14 while she was out with her mother to collect fodder.
She died a fortnight later in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
Family members of the victim claimed that her body was cremated by UP Police in their absence at 2.30am on Wednesday. Dalit community leaders and women rights activists protested against the police action, calling it a “new low”.
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Here is a timeline of events:
- Soon after the victim’s death on September 29, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad led a protest at Gate Number 5 of Safdarjung Hospital. “The government should not test our patience. We won’t rest until the culprits are hanged,” he said.
- The midnight cremation of the victims’ body was slammed by Opposition parties, which claimed that the Yogi Adityanath government did so to suppress protests.
- Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, said that the girl and her family were being denied dignity even in death and mourning. “When the family found her and she was taken to the police station, the police said she is trying to trap people and then she was hospitalised and not kept in ICU for six days and then on her death the police blamed the victim’s family and they are denying this Dalit family and victim dignity even in death and mourning,” she said.
- Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi attempted to visit the family of the victim in Hathras on Thursday, but their convoy was stopped in view of Section 144 in the area. After Rahul Gandhi said “I will walk to Hathras alone,” he along with his sister Priyanka was detained by the UP Police.
- The Gandhis were taken away in a police jeep and kept in a guest house for sometime before being released and escorted back to Delhi by the UP police. Meanwhile, the Congress claimed that the leaders were arrested by the police and attacked UP CM Adityanath for the move.
- A first information report (FIR) was filed against the Gandhis under the pandemic law by the UP Police for their march towards Hathras.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, dubbed the proposed visit of Gandhi siblings to Hathras as “political tourism”.
- On Friday, both Chandrashekhar Azad and Aam Aadmi Party called for a protest at Jantar Mantar. Hundreds of people, including Azad, AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja, participated in the protest.
- “The entire country wants that the culprits should be given stringent punishment. Some people feel that attempts are being made to save them. At this time, the victim’s family needs all the possible help,” said Kejriwal.
- At Jantar Mantar, Azad said that he will visit Hathras and urged the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the incident.
- In another development, UP CM Adityanath ordered the suspension of Hathras superintendent of police Vikrant Vir and two other police officials for their handling of the case. “Narco-analysis polygraph tests” would also be conducted on everyone involved in the case.