Outrage over Hathras gang rape case intensifies with protests across the country

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being arrested by the UP Police on his way to HathrasIANS
Protests continue to surge across India against the rape of 19-year old Dalit girl from the Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh. Congress workers are holding a candlelight march near India Gate against the alleged gang-rape.

Protests also errupted in other parts of the country, like Pune, Chennai and Kolkata. after the brief detainment of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police.

Meanwhile, Seema Kushwaha — who fought on the behalf of the rape victim in the landmark Nirbhaya case — may also be roped into defend the Hathras victim. "The family of the alleged gang-rape victim called me to Hathras as they want me to stand as their legal counsel. I'm not being allowed to meet them as administration says it will affect law and order situation," she told ANI.

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UP Police claims Hathras victim was not raped
A senior Uttar Pradesh police officer said on Thursday said the forensic report has revealed that the 19-year-old Hathras woman who succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi hospital was not raped.

Citing a forensic science laboratory (FSL) report, ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the cause of her death is an injury on the neck and trauma resulting due to it.

"The report of the FSL has also come. It says clearly that samples did not have sperm. It makes clear that there was no rape or gang rape," Kumar said.
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"Even the woman in her statement to police did not mention about rape but talked about 'marpeet' (beating) only," he said.

"For disturbing social harmony and create caste violence, some persons wrongly presented facts," the UP police officer said.

"Police took immediate action in the case and now we will identify those who tried to disturb social harmony and create caste violence," the ADG added, stressing that people "distorted facts" in the media.
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Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi detained for violating Section 188 on their march to Hathras

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have been detailed by the Uttar Pradesh police their way to Hathras for violating Section 188 of the Disaster Management Act. It cites disobedience which causes danger to human life, health or safety or causes or tends to cause riot or affray. Violation of Section 188 can lead to an imprisonment term up to 6 months or a fine up to 1,000 rupees.

As he was being arrested, Rahul Gandhi reportedly tripped amid the melee as he was being detained by the police.
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Rahul Gandhi seen tripping in the process of being detained by the UP Police on his way to HathrasIANS

The group of Congress workers was still around 140 kilometers away from Hathras when the arrest occurred. The Gandhi's were on the way to visit the family of the 19-year old gang rape victim.. The rushed cremation of the victim has led to a surge in protests across the country.

As the two Gandhi's were being taken away, Congress workers were seen blocking the road to keep the police van from leaving, which ensued in the UP police using force to clear the way.

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They have been taken to the Buddh International Circuit guest house.

NCW seeks explanation from UP Police on urgency to cremate body of Hathras gangrape victim
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    The National Commission for Women (NCW), in a statement, said it is shocked at the brutal gangrape of a 20-year-old woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh who died in Delhi after fighting for life for two weeks.

    The incident underlines the grim state of women in the society, it said.
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    The commission said it also came across a disturbing report on police officials cremating her body in the middle of the night without the permission and presence of her family members.

    It has been reported that the victim's body was cremated at 2:30 am by the police without the presence of any family member.

    "The victim's family had reportedly appealed to the District Magistrate for taking her body home for performing the last rites, however the police went ahead with the cremation while most of her family members were away," it said.
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    "The commission has now written to Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh seeking an explanation on the urgency to cremate the body of the victim in the middle of the night that too in the absence of her family. NCW has asked the administration to send a reply on the same at the earliest," it said.

    Congress convoy to Hathras stopped in UP —Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi proceed on foot
    Vehicles of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit gang-rape victim, were stopped in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida on Thursday, party officials said.


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    The convoy was stopped near Pari Chowk, prompting party workers and senior leaders to proceed on foot, with some functionaries saying they will walk down to Hathras.

    Around the same time last year, we were fighting for the Unnao daughter and the situation in UP has not changed in a year, Priyanka Gandhi told reporters as she started walking on the expressway.

    The Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath must take responsibility for women safety in the state and ensure atrocities against them are stopped, she added.

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    After Hathras, another gangrape victim dies in UP's Balrampur
    A 22-year-old Dalit woman died after allegedly being raped by two men in Uttar Pradesh's Balrampur district, succumbing to critical injuries on the same day as the teen from Hathras in the state who breathed her last in a Delhi hospital two weeks after she was gangraped.

    Both the women died on Tuesday and were cremated on Wednesday.

    The two men accused of assaulting the woman from Balrampur have been arrested, police said amid outrage over the death of the 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras.

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    The Balrampur victim's mother told reporters on Wednesday night that the rapists broke her daughter's legs and back, a charge denied by the police.

    "My daughter had gone to take admission in a college on Tuesday. On her way back, three-four persons abducted her, took her to their room, gave her an injection and raped her. They later sent her back on an e-rickshaw, which dumped her outside our house. They broke her legs and back. She could not stand or talk," the woman said.

    Quoting the victim's family members, Balrampur Superintendent of Police (SP) Dev Ranjan Verma said the woman worked in a private firm and returned home on Tuesday in a serious condition.

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    She looked dazed and had a cannula, medically known as Vigo and used for administering an injection or other fluids in the body, inserted in her hands.

    She was rushed to a nearby hospital but died on the way, the SP said.

    When the matter was reported to the police by the hospital, her parents alleged she was gangraped, he added.

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    Acting on the family's complaint, police identified the accused as Shahid and Sahil and arrested them.

    About the mother's allegation that the woman's legs and back were broken, Verma said, "It was not confirmed in the post-mortem. We contradict this news."

    She was cremated on Wednesday after the post-mortem in the presence of her family members, the police said.

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    The district magistrate and the SP, along with the mahant of the Devipatan temple, Mithilesh Nath Yogi, visited her home on Thursday morning, met the family members and condoled her death.

    "The family members were assured that the accused will be given a strict punishment in accordance with law. A letter sanctioning a financial assistance of Rs 6,18,450 was handed over to them by the mahant. The amount will be sent to the victim's mother's bank account by the afternoon," a statement issued here said.

    The mother has demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a government job for her son.

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    "My daughter wanted to become a lawyer but she was killed. The same fate should await the culprits. We want justice. My son should be given a government job and we should get at least Rs 25 lakh as compensation," she said.

    Safdarjung Hospital releases autopsy
    The autopsy of the 19-year old victim of the Hathras gang rape reveals that she was tortured, strangled and suffered from a cervical spine injury.

    However, the final diagnoses does not mention rape. It reads, "Alleged post-strangulation with cervical spine injury with sepsis with cardiopulmonary arrest."
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    Instead, ‘rape and strangulation’ have been noted under the ‘ medical history’ section.

    The report adds that the victim was given CPR and ‘despite all resuscitative efforts’ was declared dead at 8:55 am on Tuesday, September 27.

    Section 144 in Hathras, borders sealed
    The district administration in Hathras has imposed Section 144 in the area and has banned the entry of all 'outsiders' including media persons in Boolgarhi Village where a 19-year-old Dalit girl was gang-raped and later passed away.
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    District Magistrate Praveen Lakshkar said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up to probe the incident, has reached the village and is interacting with the family and other people to record their statements.

    "They do not want any disturbance and hence, all entry of outsiders has been stopped," he said.

    The District Magistrate further said that he had no information of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra reaching Hathras to meet the bereaved family.
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    NHRC issues notice to Yogi government on Hathras incident
    The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of the Hathras incident of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl and has issued a notice to the Yogi Adityanath government.

    The Commission has directed the state government to provide adequate protection to the family of the deceased, keeping in view the gravity of the matter and also the aspect of the witness protection as there is apparent rift between two communities.

    The government has been asked to respond to the notice within four weeks.
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    80 people detained over Hathras gangrape protest
    Delhi Police on Wednesday detained at least 80 persons who staged a protest over the Hathras gangrape case. This includes 36 men and 44 women.

    "Today around 11.30 pm, members of different parties - AIDWA, DSDU, AISA AIMSS - tried to reach UP Bhawan, SP Marg to stage a protest demanding harsh punishment for accused persons in Hathras gangrape case. We have detained 80 people in this connection," said a senior police officer.

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    Police said that as the protestors have violated order u/s 144 CrPC in force and other laws regarding Covid-19, FIR u/s 188 IPC, 3 Epidemic Act & 51(b) Disaster Management Act, PS Chanakyapuri has been registered against the protesters.

    Yogi announces ₹ 25 lakh aid for victim’s family
    Amid an uproar over the cremation of the body of a Dalit gang-rape victim early on Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to the 19-year-old woman's father in Hathras district and offered his condolences.

    He also announced a compensation of ₹ 25 lakh to the bereaved family, apart from a job to one of its members. The family would also be given a house.

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    The victim's father sought the harshest punishment for the four accused arrested for the crime reported on September 14. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Awasthi said that the Chief Minister assured the woman's father of the most stringent action against the culprits and all possible help to the family.

    Yogi sets up SIT to probe Hathras incident
    The Yogi Adityanath government on Wednesday set up a Special investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Hathras incident.

    The SIT, according to official sources, will comprise home secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, DIG Chandra Prakash and IPS officer Poonam.

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    The SIT will submit its report at the earliest.

    The Chief Minister, sources said, has decided to send the case to a fast track court in order to ensure justice to the victim.

    All four accused have already been arrested.

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    PIL filed in Supreme Court seeking CBI probe in Hathras gang-rape and murder
    A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking a CBI probe or SIT investigation under a sitting or former Supreme Court or High Court judge in the gruesome gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district.

    The PIL has been filed by social activist Satyama Dubey and advocates Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav. The petitioners urged the apex court to pass appropriate order for a fair investigation - either by the CBI or the SIT under a sitting or retired judge of Supreme Court or High Court - and transfer the case to Delhi, as Uttar Pradesh authorities had failed to take certain actions against the accused.

    The plea said the victim was first raped and then brutally assaulted, and according to a medical report, her tongue was chopped and her neck and back bones broken by the accused, who belonged to an upper caste. The victim succumbed to her injuries at Safdarjung hospital in Delhi.

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    The petitioner said on September 14, the accused persons raped and brutally assaulted the victim when she was in the fields to collect fodder for her cattle.

    It also said that the police have said the victim's cremation was being carried out as per the wishes of the family, which was not true, and the police personnel set fire to the body of the deceased, even as media persons were banned, as per the information received, said the plea.

    The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Wednesday also wrote to Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde to urge the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of the gruesome gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district.

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    Hathras victim cremated, police denies coercion
    The 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathra was cremated early Wednesday in her village amid tight security.

    "The police have forcibly taken the dead body, and my father along with them for cremation. When my father reached Hathras, he was immediately taken (to the crematorium) by the police," the victim's brother told the media.

    However, Hathras police have denied the charges and has issued a notice saying the coercion being talked about on social media is canard. It said: "The family cremated the body with due rituals under the supervision of police and administration."

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    The victim, who was paralyzed after being allegedly dragged on the field by her attackers on September 14, died at the Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday after battling for life for a fortnight.

    Her mortal remains reached the Boolgarhi village around midnight and the cremation was done at 3 a.m.

    There was tension as the victim's mortal remains reached the village and people tried to block the ambulance from moving ahead.

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    Superintendent of Police (SP) Vikrant Veer denied any 'urgency' by the police in holding the cremation at night even though cremations do not normally take place after sunset.

    He added that the cremation was done by the family as usual after the body reached Boolgarhi village. The SP claimed that the situation is calm in the village, but heavy police force has been deployed.

    The woman was allegedly raped in a Hathras village by four men, who were later taken into custody. Initially she was rushed to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh, but on Monday night had to be shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi after her condition deteriorated.

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    She was in a critical condition and on ventilator support.

    (With inputs from IANS and PTI)