Nearly a dozen vehicles were torched by an angry crowd when the body of an alleged gangrape victim, who immolated herself on Monday, was being taken for cremation early Tuesday in Sikandararau area of Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.
Police had to call reinforcement from Aligarh to disperse the mob which had earlier blocked the busy Hathras-Etah road by placing the body of the woman on the road. Several rounds were fired in the air and police later detained 15 people in connection with the violence.
The alleged gangrape victim was a Dalit in her early 20s who used to live with her husband in Jaswant Nagar area of Etawah.
Hathras SP Deepika Tiwari said the woman, while recording her statement before the station officer of a Mahila police station, alleged that she was raped by seven men including three she named — Zeeshan, Bhullan and Wakeel. Her statement before a magistrate could not be recorded as she died on way to hospital.On a complaint by the woman’s mother, a case was lodged at the Sikandararau police station. Two men — Bhullan and Wakeel — have been arrested while the rest are absconding.
Police said the woman claimed she was kidnapped from Jaswant Nagar on Friday night and dropped by her abductors close to her parents’ house in Sikandararau on Sunday evening. She told her mother that she had been raped by three men who live in the same neighbourhood as her mother.
The woman’s husband, on the other hand, lodged a complaint on Saturday with police in Jaswant Nagar alleging that his wife left home on Friday night without informing him or any other family member. He suspected that she had eloped.
Chandra Prakash Bhatt, SHO of Jaswant Nagar police station, said a complaint was lodged under IPC section 498 (enticing or taking away or detaining a married woman with criminal intent).
Addl SP Shri Krishna said family members of both families met on Sunday evening to discuss the matter but the woman’s husband refused to take her home. On Monday morning, the woman locked herself in a room and set herself ablaze.
Police learnt of the incident after neighbours took her to the district hospital. She was referred to a hospital in Aligarh but she died on the way.
On Tuesday, when the body was being taken for cremation, the crowd turned violent. Police said it took nearly 90 minutes to bring the situation under control.
“Initially the crowd agreed to take away the body and stop protesting. But some unruly elements in the crowd began hurling stones and the situation spun out of control,” one of the officers said.