In what could be an example of the blatant highhandedness of the Uttar Pradesh administration, the Hathras district magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar has been caught on camera issuing a veiled threat to the rape victim’s family members.
In a video that has gone viral, the district magistrate is seen saying the victim’s father that: “Do not finish your credibility. These media people… some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change.”
In another video in circulation, a veiled woman, believed to be the victim’s sister-in-law, looks into the camera and weeps. “They are putting pressure on us. They are saying that if our daughter had died of coronavirus, then she would have received compensation. They are saying the case will be rafaa-dafaa (disposed of). We are getting warnings. Our father is getting warnings,” she said.
Girl was cremated against family’s consent
Notably, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped by four upper-caste men. She succumbed on Tuesday in Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi and the post-mortem report confirmed fracture in spine and strangulation. Her body was allegedly cremated in haste by the UP police while the family was not even allowed to have a last look.
The incident has created a nationwide furore, with the Opposition demanding resignation of UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
According to the post-mortem report, the Hathras gang-rape victim suffered a fracture of “C6 cervical vertebra”.
Also, the report says there were “extravasations of blood along the fracture line” and the underlying spinal cord was “contused with ascending oedema”.
On strangulation attempts, the post-mortem report said the marks on the victim’s neck are consistent with the allegations of attempted strangulation.
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“The ligature mark over the neck is consistent with attempted strangulation but (it) did not contribute to death in this case,” the report said.
On the cause of death, the report said it will be confirmed by the chemical analysis report of the viscera.
The Safdarjung Hospital said the victim’s viscera has been preserved and other vital samples have been handed over to the investigating officer.
Trial to be conducted by fast-track court
The Yogi Adityanath government on Wednesday formed a special investigation team that will probe the incident and submit its report within seven days. The government has also clarified that the trial in the case will be carried out by a fast-track court.
Notably, the Uttar Pradesh Police allegedly cremated the body in the dark of the night. The family alleged that it was not allowed in the cremation and was locked up in their houses.
Hathras gang-rape case history
The 19-year-old woman was attacked on September 14 at Hathras village. She told the cops that she was dragged by her dupatta into the fields where she had been cutting grass.
The family later found her in the fields, naked and bleeding, with injuries on her neck and back.
She suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and a deep gash in her tongue in the assault. The injuries to her neck left her paralysed and struggling to breathe, media reports said.
Her family has alleged that the police did not help them initially and only reacted after public outrage over the incident.
UP police denied that her tongue was cut off and said she bit her tongue when her attackers were trying to strangle her.
News of her death led to protests outside the hospital with the Bhim Army of Chandrashekhar Azad blocking roads for 10-15 minutes and protesters chanting ‘hang the rapists’. There has been an outpouring of grief and anger from politicians, celebrities and others.
The UP police initially registered an attempt to murder case but added rape charges only after the woman’s formal statement. They have denied the family’s allegation of slow response.
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