Lucknow: The last rites of the 19-year-old gang-rape victim from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, who died in a New Delhi hospital on Tuesday, September 29, were hastily performed late last night at around 2 AM against the wishes of her family. The girl was allegedly gang-raped and physically assaulted by a group of upper caste men in Hathras on September 14.
The dalit girl’s brother, Kumar, 28, told NewsClick that the police and administration did not even allow them to see the face of the dead body. “We do not know even if it was the dead body of my sister or not,” he said over phone, and added, “We demand capital punishment for all the accused who killed my sister.”
Talking about the cremation, Kumar said, “The dead body reached the village at around 2 AM and our family members went there to receive the dead body but we were not allowed to see it. The police and district magistrate did not allow us to even go near the car which was carrying the dead body of my sister. We begged them saying that we want to do the cremation tomorrow morning as per the Hindu rituals but no one paid any heed to our pleadings.”
The grieving brother added, “My mother, father and even our relatives continuously begged to let us at least see her face. With folded hands, we asked them to please let us hold the dead body and allow us to do the cremation tomorrow morning as many of our relatives could not reach the village on time.”
He said, “When the car with the body arrived, the police and authorities present there pushed my mother, and other relatives along with me to the barbed wires and thorny plants on the corner of the road leading to our village.”
“We were locked and a barricade was put up to prevent people from going near the pyre. We repeated that we want to perform everything as per Hindu customs but we were told that ‘customs keep changing with time and there was some fault from our side also’,” he said.
Expressing his suspicions about foul play, Kumar said, “This Yogi Raj (Yogi Adityanath, CM of UP) is a jungle raj and now we feel that justice will not be served to us. They have started covering up and now we suspect that the government has even meddled with the medical report of my dead sister.”
When approached for an official comment on the alleged forced cremation, the Superintendent of Police told NewsClick, “Talk to the District Magistrate.” The district magistrate did not answer seven phone calls made to him.
Also read: Hathras Rape: Police Conduct Victim’s Last Rites in the Dead of Night
However, a statement released in the media attributed to joint magistrate Prakash Meena said, “The last rites of the victim (of Hathras gang-rape) has been performed. Police and administration will ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.”
B Shubham, a local resident and scribe covering the incident told NewsClick that the attitude of police and administration has been very antagonistic and anti-society since the beginning of this case.
“I saw a magistrate rank officer pushing the kin and relatives of the slain victim off the road and misbehaving with them. The family was not allowed to go near the dead body. We do not even know who set fire to the pyre. The district magistrate, superintendent of police, joint magistrate, sub district magistrate were all here but they refused to answer our queries and ran away from the spot after the pyre was lit,” he said.
Juhie Singh, Samajwadi Party spokesperson, said that the victim’s family has been facing injustice since day one. “These are spineless people, and getting a dead body burned without handing it over to the family who was begging for it is an injustice. They (government) are trying to plant stories that the rape did not happen and tongue (victim’s_ was not slashed. The senior district officials including DM and SP who have given various statements to the media should be held accountable immediately. The entire case is a conscious mismanagement. We have failed the girl completely,” she said.
Meanwhile, Congress UP East in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has demanded the resignation of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on this issue.
CM Yogi Adityanath has ordered a three member Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe to look into the case. The team includes the secretary of the Home Department and two senior IPS officers. The CM has instructed the team to file the report timely.
Brother’s first person account about the incident
My mother, sister and I went to the fields on September 14 in the morning to cut grass for our livestock. I came back home after a few minutes with a bundle of grass, while my mother and sister continued cutting. After sometime, my mother suggested to my sister that they should return, but my sister said that they should cut more grass as it was unattended. She was collecting the grass which my mother was cutting.
While collecting the grass, one of the accused grabbed my sister from behind and when she tried to raise alarm, he tried to strangle her and dragged her in the field after tying her with the stole she was wearing. The accused then raped her and she fell unconscious. They were four in number, she told us.
My mother started wondering about the whereabouts of my sister after about 20 minutes or so. She started walking in search of her and after a few metres, she saw my sister’s slipper at a distance. When she went inside the field, she found my sister who was unconscious and her tongue was bleeding. My mother asked a child to bring some water for my sister and requested someone to call me from home.
I was feeding water to my cattle and on getting the message, I rushed to the field on my motorcycle thinking that my sister was bitten by a snake. I found out what happened only when she told me about it later. I then brought my sister and mother to the Chandpa Police Station and told what had happened to the police. My sister was lying on a platform then. After the case was registered, I took my sister to the district hospital in an auto rickshaw. The doctors there gave her two set of IV and then told us that her condition was serious, thus, referring her to the Aligarh hospital.
As we were preparing to take my sister to the Aligarh hospital, the two police constables who were accompanying her gave us a slip. My brother then called the 108 helpline and an ambulance came after two hours which took us to the hospital at Aligarh. Her treatment started after 16 hours because they were conducting a lot tests that included Xray, CT scan and other things. Nothing much was being done at the hospital and this way we spent 10 days at the hospital.
The medical report of my sister was prepared after 10 days. She was unable to speak for the first three days, only when she regained consciousness she told us what had happened and we were able to give an application to the police telling them about the rape. We told everything to the SP. In the first statement, when police asked if she was raped she did not understand what was being asked and said nothing. When the police asked her about the rape in Hindi a second time, she was able to answer.
All the accused were Thakurs. My grandfather had some dispute with them but that was in 2000.
My sister told us that she was eve teased by these people earlier too and was threatened by them that if she tells us in the family then they will kill her brother and father. She had never told us about the eve teasing incident and only informed us after this incident.