AMID WIDESPREAD outrage over the death of the 19-year-old Dalit woman, who was allegedly gangraped by four upper caste men in UP’s Hathras, Opposition parties held protests in the state against the law and order situation and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the “delay” in responding to the incident.
The Opposition parties, including the Congress, SP, BSP and AAP, also targeted the government for the alleged “forced cremation” of the victim.
In a video statement, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said there “was an attempt to hush up the entire case”. Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra questioned the Chief Minister’s delay in responding to the incident and demanded his resignation. The party’s state chief, Ajay Lallu, said protests were held in several districts, including Lucknow, Shahjahanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Bahraich, Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj.
SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said his party held protests in different parts of the state demanding justice for the victim, and that a delegation will visit her village Thursday. BSP chief Mayawati slammed UP Police for not handing over the victim’s body to the family.
“Is it a crime to be a girl? What was the Uttar Pradesh government doing? For weeks, it did not hear the cries for justice of the affected family. There was an attempt to hush up the entire case. The girl did not get timely medical treatment and today a daughter has left us… the braveheart of Hathras did not die. She was killed because of negligence by a ruthless Uttar Pradesh government and its administration,” said Sonia. “When she was alive, she did not get justice, she was not protected. After her death… she was not handed over to her family. A devastated mother was not allowed to see her daughter one last time… what kind of justice is this? What kind of government is this?”
“The incident took place on September 14, today is September 30, and the CM has spoken on the incident for the first time. The girl faced a barbaric attack… it was such a big incident and it took 15 days for him to speak. And what does he say in his statement—that the PM has called him and he has set up an SIT,” Vadra said.
“Were you waiting for the Prime Minister’s phone call? Why didn’t you do anything for 15 days? The girl…was not taken to a good hospital. She was brought to Delhi the day before yesterday night. And what was the treatment meted out to her family? They were not allowed to take her body to her home for one last time. Her father could not light her funeral pyre. They were locked up in a room. Your government is so inhumane,” she said.
Vadra said that “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”.
Congress women’s wing chief Sushmita Dev demanded an inquiry into the “gross and criminal negligence” of the Chief Minister. Lallu claimed he was detained along with around 150 party members as they were moving towards the CM’s residence to demand his resignation.
BSP chief Mayawati tweeted Wednesday: “The late night cremation… sparks suspicion and anger among people. The BSP condemns the stand of police in this matter. It would be better if the Supreme Court takes suo motu cognizance of the matter and takes proper action.”
AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP and UP in-charge, Sanjay Singh, questioned UP Police over a purported video of a policeman telling the victim’s family that there had been some mistakes from their side, too. “We are disgusted by this government. You forcefully cremated that girl without the permission of her family… You cremated her without Hindu rituals,” Singh said in a video statement.
Singh also questioned Mayawati, who had described the death as “saddening”, and alleged that she was unable to “speak freely against this government”.
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