Amid nationwide outrage and mounting Opposition criticism over the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who was raped allegedly by four upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Wednesday said “vehicles can overturn anytime in Yogi Adityanath’s state”.
“The accused have been arrested. The case has been sent to a fast-track court. The accused will be sent to jail… Yogi (Adityanath) is the Chief Minister. Main jaanta hun ki unke pradesh mein kabhi bhi gaadi palat jaati hai (I know that in his state, vehicles can overturn anytime),” ANI quoted Vijayvargiya as saying.
#WATCH The accused have been arrested. The case has been sent to a fast-track court. The accused will be sent to jail… Yogi Ji jo wahan ke CM hain, main jaanta hun ki unke pradesh main kabhi bhi gaadi palat jati hai: BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya on #Hathras gang-rape case pic.twitter.com/ksSERx3nu0
— ANI (@ANI) September 30, 2020
Vijayvargiya’s remarks are being seen as a reference to the alleged encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey in July. According to the police, Dubey was shot dead while trying to escape after the police vehicle carrying him overturned near Kanpur on July 10, a day after his arrest in Madhya Pradesh. Dubey snatched the gun of a policeman and opened fire, the police had said.
Earlier in the day, UP CM Yogi Adityanath constituted a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the crime. Adityanath has asked the team to submit a report within seven days and said a fast-track court will begin hearing the case. The body of the victim was cremated a little after 3 am Wednesday — with her family saying police had forcibly performed the last rites late at night even though they wanted to bring her body home one last time.
However, protests fanned across the country over the incident, with Congress leaders and workers, including those of the party’s youth wing, staging a protest against the Yogi Adityanath government near the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan in New Delhi. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded Yogi Adityanath’s resignation and said he had “no moral right” to continue.
“RESIGN. Instead of protecting the victim and her family, your government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. You have no moral right to continue as chief minister,” Gandhi tweeted.
मैं यूपी के मुख्यमंत्री जी से कुछ सवाल पूछना चाहती हूँ-
परिजनों से जबरदस्ती छीन कर पीड़िता के शव को जलवा देने का आदेश किसने दिया?
पिछले 14 दिन से कहां सोए हुए थे आप? क्यों हरकत में नहीं आए?
और कब तक चलेगा ये सब? कैसे मुख्यमंत्री हैं आप? pic.twitter.com/Q2qPcDXDTT
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) September 30, 2020
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit out at Adityanath government over the hurried cremation of the victim, accusing it of “destroying evidence” while CPI(M) called it a “blatant denial of justice”. The NCW also condemned the manner in which the victim was cremated, saying it would seek explanation from the UP Police on it.
Taking to Twitter, Yadav said cremating the rape victim under the administration’s “pressure” without the “consent” of her family was against the culture. “The BJP government not only committed a sin by doing so but also committed a crime,” he tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the death of the 19-year-old victim a matter of shame for the whole society, country and all governments, and demanded death penalty for the culprits. “The Hathras victim was earlier raped by some beasts and yesterday the entire system raped her. The entire matter is highly painful,” Kejriwal tweeted.
In a press statement, the Politburo of the CPI(M) said the “barbaric caste based rape” was “reflective of the utter lawlessness” in UP. “The CPI(M) strongly condemns the actions of the Adityanath government on the blatant denial of justice to the Hathras dalit rape victim and her family. Her death is the result of the callous approach of the government,” the party said.
Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil termed the incident “inhuman and unfortunate”. “Final rites of India’s daughter were performed during early hours in the absence of her family members. This behaviour of the Uttar Pradesh government is inhuman and unfortunate. Daughters are not being respected when they are alive nor while they are dead,” he tweeted.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines