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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Rahul, Priyanka meet Hathras victim’s family: ‘They just asked about our child’

The victim’s brother told The Sunday Express, “They reassured us help; they said they will do what they can.”

Written by Somya Lakhani , Ananya Tiwari , Ashna Butani | Hathras, New Delhi | Updated: October 4, 2020 7:41:12 am
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra meeting the relatives of the Hathras victim. (Source: INC)

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on Thursday stopped en route to Hathras to meet the 19-year-old woman’s family, managed to reach the village on Saturday and spent an hour at their residence.

“She (Priyanka) sat with me, asked me about my daughter, how she died, what happened on September 14…. She asked about her cremation,” the victim’s mother said after the Congress leaders left. “They just asked us about our daughter, and promised to help us get justice.”

Social activist Yogita Bhayana, who was with the family when the two leaders met them, told The Sunday Express, “They asked the family whether they wanted a CBI inquiry, to which the family said no. They offered their condolences to the family and extended their support.”

Sunday story| Looking for a 19-year-old

As the two leaders reached the family’s residence, more than 50 UP Police personnel and joint magistrate Prem Prakash Meena were present. The victim’s brother told The Sunday Express, “They reassured us help; they said they will do what they can.”

Earlier in the day, Priyanka and Rahul had run into heavy police deployment on the DND while exiting the NCR. As their vehicle drove alongside a crowd of Congress workers and moved towards the DND exit, some party workers were involved in clashes with policemen stationed at the toll gates.

As some Congress workers faced police batons, Priyanka got off the vehicle and attempted to shield them. She eventually pushed some police personnel and moved the barricades aside from one exit as the motorcade inched forward behind them.

Read| Damage control in Hathras: UP Govt seeks CBI probe, lifts village lockdown

Delhi state Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said he was injured in the lathicharge. “Congress workers will give blood for the safety of women, girls, and Dalit women of UP. We are not scared of the lathis or the Modi-Yogi regime,” he said.

On way to the village Saturday, Rahul tweeted, “Nothing in the world can stop me from meeting this unhappy family of Hathras and sharing their pain.”

Selja Kumari, former Union minister of social justice and empowerment, who was present at the DND, told The Sunday Express, “The UP government does not believe in justice. It believes in jungle raj, and this is a result of that. In a democratic country, anyone can meet anybody. Is there any democracy here? You do not see any evidence of that under the UP government.”

Dr Sai Anamika, regional coordinator, member, AICC, said, “Party workers and a few senior politicians were injured (in police lathicharge). Among them was Kamal Kishor.”

In Photos| Rahul, Priyanka make it to Hathras victim’s home

Senior party leaders K C Venugopal, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Adhir Ranjan Choudhury also accompanied Rahul and Priyanka.

Following the meeting with the family, Priyanka tweeted five “questions of the Hathras victim’s family”: “a judicial enquiry through the Supreme Court be done”; the Hathras District Magistrate be suspended; “why the woman’s body was burnt using petrol without asking us”; “why are we being misled, threatened again and again”; and “we picked flowers from the pyre for humanity’s sake but how do we know whether the body was even our daughter’s?”

She tweeted, “Getting answers to these questions is the right of this family and the UP government will have to answer.”

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