Hathras woman who was gang-raped 2 weeks ago dies at Delhi hospital
A 19-year-old woman died at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday over two weeks after four men in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras allegedly raped and brutalised her when she tried to fight back, leaving her legs fully and arms partially paralysed.
The death triggered outrage with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hitting out at the state government over “no semblance of security” for women and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal calling it a matter of shame for the country.
Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad led a protest at the Safdarjung Hospital demanding death sentence for the accused. “I appeal to all members of the Dalit community to take to the streets and demand the death penalty for the guilty. The government should not test our patience. We would not rest until the culprits are hanged.” He said the state government “is equally responsible for the death of our sister”.
Hathras police superintendent Vikrant Vir said the woman’s family informed them that she died around 3 am. “The [woman] was referred to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi but could not be saved. [She] breathed her last on Tuesday morning... [Her] post mortem is to be conducted in Delhi before her body will be brought back to Hathras maybe later in the day [Tuesday] for cremation,” said Vir. He said the woman suffered spinal injuries, but denied reports that her tongue was slit.
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Vir said the in-charge of Hathras’s Kotwali police station has been removed for alleged inaction in the case. He added that the four accused had been arrested and will also be booked for murder.
Vir said they first arrested 20-year-old Sandip the day the woman was raped. He added that three more men, Ramu, Lavkush, and Ravi, were later arrested when the woman named them in her statement before a magistrate on September 22. Vir said the men tried to strangulate her when she tried to resist their attempts to rape her.
Vir said the 19-year-old was found badly injured after she went missing on September 14.
Hathras district magistrate Praveen Kumar said the accused have also been booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the woman’s family has been given Rs 10 lakh compensation.
He added a fast-track court would be set up to hear the case to punish the culprits at the earliest.
The case has drawn parallels with the gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi, who was attacked on a moving bus and left to die on a roadside in 2012. Anger over the Delhi case triggered countrywide protests and prompted the government to pass a tougher law against sexual violence with a provision for the death penalty for rape. Four men convicted of the 23-year-old’s rape and murder were hanged in March.
The Hathras woman was shifted to the Delhi hospital from Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital on Monday when her condition showed no signs of improvement. She was admitted to the Aligarh hospital in a critical condition on September 14 and was on ventilator support.
Priyanka Gandhi said law and order in Uttar Pradesh has deteriorated to a great extent and no semblance of safety exists for women. “The criminals are committing crimes openly,” she tweeted, calling for severe punishment for the rapist-killers. “@myogiadityanath [chief minister Yogi Adityanath] you are accountable for the safety of women in UP [Uttar Pradesh],” she tweeted.
“A Dalit girl who was a victim of demoniac behaviour in Hathras has passed away at Safdarjung Hospital. For two weeks, she kept struggling between life and death in hospitals.” Priyanka Gandhi said incidents of rape in Hathras, Shahjahanpur, and Gorakhpur had shaken the state.
Kejriwal demanded that the guilty be tried and hanged at the earliest. “The death of Hathras victim is shameful for the entire society, country as well as for all the governments. It is highly sad that so many daughters are being sexually assaulted and we have not been able to protect them...” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati demanded stringent punishment for the accused and said they should be tried in a fast-track court. “The news of the death of Dalit victim after gangrape in Hathras...is very saddening. The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure fast punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast track court....”
Bhim Army chief and Dalit leader Chandrashekar Azad on Sunday night evaded the police to visit the woman’s family at the Aligarh hospital to express “solidarity” with them. He said the rape highlighted the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
“Policemen who have been negligent in this case should be duly punished and the woman’s family members should be immediately provided security as they are feeling insecure and should be shifted to a safe spot,” he said. Azad demanded financial assistance of Rs. 1 crore for the woman’s family.
Vir said a police force was deployed at the woman’s house when she was admitted to the Aligarh hospital where her condition deteriorated.
In a video message, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma said the commission had sought an action taken report from Uttar Pradesh Police on the matter and was told the four accused had been arrested. She said the commission has promised the woman’s family all possible assistance. “An NCW member is going to meet the brother of the victim and we will help the family in whatever way we can.”
(With PTI inputs)