The Delhi Police has banned any kind of large gatherings in and around India Gate on Friday. The order was issued ahead of a protest planned in front of the war memorial against the brutal gangrape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district, according to NDTV.
“No gathering is permissible around India Gate due to imposition of Section 144 CrPC,” the Delhi Police tweeted. However the police said a total of 100 people can assemble at Jantar Mantar, 3 km from India Gate, if they have the permission of the “competent authority”.
Two weeks ago, four upper-caste men had tortured and raped the Dalit woman. She died on Tuesday at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. She had suffered multiple fractures and other serious injuries when the four accused raped her in her village on September 14. The four men have been arrested.
However, the woman was hastily cremated by the police, which has evoked shock and outrage across the country. Her family claimed the cremation, which took place at 3 am on Wednesday, was done against their wishes and the police had locked them in their houses to stop them.
On Thursday, the Uttar Pradesh Police claimed that the forensic lab report of the woman showed that she was not raped. They claimed the woman’s postmortem report showed that she died of neck injuries. Experts, however, pointed out that since the samples for the test were collected days after the crime, sperm would not be present.
The incident has triggered nationwide protests and has become emblematic of the caste-based violence against Dalit women, foregrounding the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. Citizens have also drawn parallels with the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case that had triggered huge protests in the Capital and across the country.
Several politicians called the hasty cremation an abuse of human rights. They have also questioned the exploitative caste hierarchy under Chief Minister Adityanath’s rule and demanded his resignation.
On Thursday, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were released after being detained by the Uttar Pradesh Police when they were on their way to meet the family of the Dalit woman. The two leaders were escorted back to Delhi.
Later in the day, the Allahabad High Court took suo motu cognisance of the Hathras gangrape case and directed top officials of the Uttar Pradesh government and the police to appear before it on October 12.
The court noted that the case was of immense public importance and public interest as it involved allegations of high-handedness by the state authorities resulting in violation of basic human and fundamental rights not only of the deceased victim but also her family members.