Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti on Friday questioned the “suspicious” action of police in Hathras, and said the incident had “dented” the image of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the UP government, and the BJP.
Bharti told Adityanath she was not aware of any rule under which the Dalit family could be prevented from meeting anyone, and asked him to allow the media and members of other political parties to meet them.
“We have recently laid the foundation stone of the Ram temple and claimed to bring Ram Rajya to the country, but the suspicious action of the police has dented your image, that of @UPGovt and @ BJP4India,” Bharti posted on Twitter, tagging the official handles of the BJP and the Uttar Pradesh government.
Bharti is the first senior BJP leader to question the actions of the UP government in the incident that has triggered protests from several parties and civil society. Two days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Adityanath to take strict action against the culprits.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Bharti also questioned the cordoning off of the victim’s family and village.
“She was the daughter of a Dalit family. Police cremated her in a great hurry, and they have now cordoned off the victim’s family and the village,” Bharti said.
“To my knowledge there is no rule that the family can’t meet anyone during an investigation by an SIT (special investigation team). This will only put the SIT’s investigation under a cloud.”
“You are an administrator with a very clean image,” Bharti tweeted to Adityanath. “I request you to allow media persons and other political parties to meet the aggrieved family.”
Bharti, who said she was admitted in AIIMS, Rishikesh after having tested positive for Covid-19, said she was “extremely restless in the corona ward”. “Had I not been corona positive, I would have been sitting with that family in that village,” she wrote. “When I leave AIIMS Rishikesh, I will definitely meet the victim’s family in Hathras.”
Bharti said she had kept quiet initially, “but the way in which the police have cordoned off the victim’s family and the village, no matter what the justification, raises many doubts”.
Bharti said she was senior to Adityanath in the BJP, and like his “elder sister”. “I urge you not to turn down my suggestion.”
The 19-year old Dalit woman was assaulted and allegedly raped by four upper caste men on September 14. She died in Delhi on Tuesday, and was cremated by police in the fields near her home in the early hours of Wednesday.
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