The protests against the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the Hathras gang-rape case intensified on Friday. Massive protests were held in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar which witnessed the participation from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, Delhi MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and actor Swara Bhaskar.
The protest was earlier planned at India Gate, but had to be moved to Jantar Mantar due to prohibitory orders imposed in Rajpath area.
Hang the guilty, says Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal said: “We have assembled here in grief. I pray to God that our daughter’s soul gets peace. I request the Uttar Pradesh government with my folded hands, hang the guilty as soon as possible. They should get such a punishment that no one will dare commit a crime like this again.”
“I will visit #Hathras. Our struggle will continue till the time UP CM doesn’t resign, & justice is served. I urge SC to take cognizance of the incident,” Chandrashekhar Azad tweeted.
After sunset, the protesters lit up candles and stood holding them in the dark, as policemen watched over them.
President of the All India Mahila Congress, Sushmita Dev also reached Jantar Mantar along with party workers. “I stand in solidarity with every victim of violence. Joined the thousands of citizens at Jantar Mantar who are outraged at the Hathras Case,” Dev said.
Uma Bharti criticises Yogi Adityanath
BJP leader Uma Bharti on Friday said due to the suspicious actions of the police in the Hathras incident, the image of the Uttar Pradesh government and the BJP has been hit.
She posted a series of nine tweets to clarify her stand in the issue. She has asked the CM to allow the media and politicians to meet the family.
Uma Bharti wrote: “She was a daughter of a Dalit family. She was cremated by the police in a hurry and now the family and the village police are under siege.”
“At first I thought that I should not say anything because you must be taking action in this regard. However, the manner in which the police have laid a siege to the village and the victim’s family is concerning, no matter what the arguments in its favour may be,” she said.
“I don’t know of any rule under which a family can’t meet anybody because of a SIT (Special Investigation Team) probe. Doing this would cast doubts on the SIT probe itself,” she said.
“We have just laid the foundation stone of the Ram Temple and have claimed to bring Ram Rajya to the country ahead but due to the suspicious actions of the police on this incident, the image of Uttar Pradesh government and the BJP has been hit,” she said.
“You have a very clean image. I request you to allow media persons and other political parties to meet the aggrieved family,” she said.
Uma Bharti added: “Had I not been coronavirus positive then I too would have been sitting with the family. I will definitely meet them once I am discharged. I am senior to you and like an elder sister. I request you to not ignore my request.”
UP cops suspended
Amid mounting pressure over the mishandling of the Hathras case, the UP government has suspended Hathras superintendent of police Vikrant Vir, deputy superintendent of police Ram Shabd, inspector Dinesh Verma, sub-inspector Jagveer Singh and head constable Mahesh Pal.
Derek O’Brien pushed to the ground
A day after the scuffle between Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and the Uttar Pradesh police, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien was pushed to the ground by the UP cops during a confrontation while he was on his way to Hathras to meet the 19-year-old Dalit gang-rape victim’s family.
Derek O’Brien and several other TMC leaders were stopped by the UP police when they were just 1.5 km away from the victim’s family.
Hathras gang-rape case history
A 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.
The victim’s family alleged that the body was cremated by the police in a hurry in the dead of the night and the family and relatives were not allowed to have a last look.
Meanwhile, the UP police are now claiming that no rape had happened, citing a forensic report.
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