TMC delegation, including Derek O’Brien, on way to meet Hathras rape victim’s family stopped at district border
A four-member delegation of the Trinamool Congress, led by senior party leader Derek O’Brien, was on Friday stopped by the police from going to the village of the 19-year-old gang-rape victim in Hathras of Uttar Pradesh to meet her family.
The woman was allegedly raped by four dominant-caste men on September 14 when she had gone to the fields in her village to gather cattle fodder. She was left partially paralysed and admitted for treatment in the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of Aligarh Muslim University and then shifted to New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital when her condition did not improve. She died on Tuesday morning. The woman’s family has said she was forcibly cremated late in night
The Mamata Banerjee-led party said in a statement later that the delegation was stopped by police around 1.5 kilometres from the victim’s home. The delegation included O’Brien, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Pratima Mondal and former member of Parliament Mamata Thakur.
A 29-second clip tweeted by ANI showed a woman leader of the party being physically turned away by a person in plains clothes as O’ Brien comes into the frame. He is seen being pulled away by the person and falling to the ground as a number of police personnel surround him. He is then seen helped get up as other leaders are also pushed away.
“He was pushed to the ground. Maybe he is injured too. He was attacked. How can they do it?” Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, another TMC leader who was a part of the delegation, was quoted by ANI as asking.
“A delegation of Trinamool MPs have been stopped by UP Police from entering Hathras. The delegation had travelled about 200 kms from Delhi. The Trinamool MPs were on their way to the village in Hathras, travelling separately, to express solidarity with the grieving family and convey their condolences,” the TMC said in the statement.
“At this moment, we are just 1.5 kms from the victims home in Hathras, explaining to police officials that we will walk the 1.5kms to the victim’s house in Hathras,” the statement said quoting one of the lawmakers.
One of the MPs, who was stopped, said, “We are peacefully proceeding to Hathras to meet the family and pay our condolences. We are travelling individually and maintaining all protocols. We are not armed. Why are we stopped? What kind of jungle raj is this that elected MPs are prevented from meeting a grieving family.”
This comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were stopped and briefly detained while going to the meet the woman’s family. The Congress has criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of the case and has been demanding justice for the victim.
The Gandhis were later released. Both the Congress leaders alleged they were manhandled and roughed up by police personnel while they were marching towards Hathras to meet the victim’s family. However, Noida’s additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP) Ranvijay Singh said that there was “no lathi charge” on anyone.
(With agency inputs)