The Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh on Friday suspended five police officers, including the superintendent of police, after a 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras district was brutally assaulted and raped by four upper caste men in the state. Earlier this week, the woman succumbed to her injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
The incident has sparked nationwide anger and protests. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and their supporters joined hundreds of people at the Jantar Mantar to protest against the government’s response to the case.
Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and members of his party were roughed up by police officers when they tried to meet the family members of the woman in their village.
Criticism mounted after the woman’s family said her body was cremated by police without their consent, an allegation officials have continued to deny.
Here are the day’s updates:
10.36 pm: Vineet Jaiswal has been made the new Hathras superintendent of police, according to The Times of India.
9.57 pm: Actor Swara Bhaskar, who was also a part of the protest at Jantar Mantar, says its time the country starts fighting the “rape epidemic”, PTI reports. “People from different groups are here, this shows how enraged people are against what happened in Hathras, Balrampur, Azamgargh...there is a rape epidemic which has spread in the country, especially the kind of news we are getting from Uttar Pradesh,” she says.
9.28 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir, Circle Officer Ram Shabd, Inspector Dinesh Meena, Sub Inspector Jagveer Singh and the head constable Mahesh Pal, reports News18.
“In the Hathras case, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed to suspend the SP, DSP, inspector and some others officials, based on the preliminary investigation report,” says a statement from the chief minister’s office.
9.12 pm: The Adityanath administration in Uttar Pradesh says narco polygraph tests, also known as lie-detector tests, of the suspended superintendent of police and deputy superintendent of police will be conducted, reports ANI.
9 pm: Chief Minister Adityanath’s office says he has ordered suspension of the Hathras superintendent of police, deputy superintendent of police, an inspector and some others officials, based on the preliminary investigation report, reports ANI.
8.43 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti asks Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to allow mediapersons and politicians to enter Hathras district to meet the family of the woman.
8.35 pm: A photo from Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park area shows candles and posters demanding justice for the woman from Hathras.
8.31 pm: Communist Party of India General Secretary Sitaram Yechury questions Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence about the case. “Why is the Prime Minister silent and where is the Union Home Minister?” he asks. “What are they scared of? Why is India’s biggest state under Section 144?”
Yechury adds: “The way UP govt is assaulting senior Opposition leaders, including women leaders, journalists makes it clear it is happening with Centre’s consent. Basic democratic rights and lives of people are endangered by this government. They cannot escape accountability. BJP shames our democracy.”
8.28 pm: The gates of the Janpath, Rajiv Chowk and Patel Chowk metro station have been opened now, Hindustan Times reports.
8.15 pm: Congress leader Sushmita Dev says the culpability of the crime is with Adityanath, according to The Indian Express. “When you compare data of Rajasthan and UP, Congress and BJP, there’s the problem,” she says. “It’s not about statistics. It’s about how we treat crime against women.”
“It’s not about my rape and your rape. Every rape is condemnable. Crystal clear that culpability is with the CM[chief minister]. UP CM must resign. When Nirbhaya happened everyone demanded Sheila [Dikshit] ji’s resignation.”— Congress leader Sushmita Dev
8.06 pm: Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi says the young woman was not raped just once but repeatedly by the UP administration, The Indian Express reports. She cites the delay in her treatment and hurried cremation.
7.55 pm: The Delhi CM says the accused must be hanged as soon as possible, NDTV reports. “We have assembled here in grief,” he says. “I pray to God that our daughter’s soul gets peace. I request the Uttar Pradesh government with my hands folded, hang the guilty as soon as possible. They should get such a punishment that no one will dare commit a crime like this again.”
7.38 pm: Kejriwal urges Adityanath to give swift justice to the woman. “We appeal to UP government with folded hands to mete out the strictest punishment, capital punishment at earliest,” he says, according to India Today. “What happened is painful. A heinous crime was committed against the victim and now they are saying the rape did not even happen.”
7.33 pm: Kejriwal adds that the whole country wants strict punishment for the accused. “Some people feel that attempts are being made to save them,” he adds. “At this time, the victim’s family needs all the possible help.”
7.32 pm: “There should be no politics on this issue,” the Delhi chief minister says, according to ANI. “Why should such an incident happen in UP, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mumbai or Delhi? No rape incidents should happen in the country.”
7.24 pm: Aam Aadmi Party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj is also at the protest site.
7.22 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reaches Jantar Mantar, ANI reports.
7.19 pm: The police set up barricades to stop protestors trying to go to India Gate.
7.17 pm: A video shows the protestors at Jantar Mantar shouting “hang them”.
7.15 pm: The Delhi Metro closes the entry and exit gates at Janpath, ANI reports. At Rajiv Chowk and Patel Chowk, the exit gates have been closed.
7.12 pm: Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad says his organisation’s struggle will continue till Adityanath does not resign, ANI reports. “I will visit Hathras,” he says. “Our struggle will continue till the time UP CM [chief minister] doesn’t resign and justice is served. I urge Supreme Court to take cognisance of the incident.”
7.04 pm: Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav reaches the protest site at Jantar Mantar.
7.02 pm: People at the protest are shouting “Phaansi do! [Hang them]”.
6.59 pm: The protestors light candles for the young woman
6.54 pm: Take a look at some more pictures from the protest.
6.52 pm: Here are some visuals from the protest at Jantar Mantar.
6.49 pm: Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad joins the protest at Jantar Mantar, ANI reports.
6.40 pm: “What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is goondaraj,” says Prashant Bhushan. “The police have surrounded the village, are not allowing opposition leaders and mediapersons to enter it. They have taken away the mobile phones of the family members of the victim.”
6.37 pm: Civil society activists, students, women and members of various political outfits have gathered at Jantar Mantar. This includes lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan. The protest was initially to be held at the India Gate but was later shifted to the Jantar Mantar owing to the prohibitory orders imposed at Rajpath.
6.33 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury has joined the protest at Jantar Mantar, News18 reports. “The UP government has no right to stay in power,” he says. “Our demand is that justice should be served.” Communist Party of India leader D Raja is also with him.
6.23 pm: Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prevents the assembly of four or more persons, has been imposed at India Gate, The Quint reports. The Delhi deputy commissioner of police says up to 100 people are allowed at Jantar Mantar, but only with prior permission from the authorities.
6.17 pm: Protestors in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi hold placards criticising Adityanath (whose real name is Ajay Singh Bisht) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Newslaundry reports.
5.56 pm: Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has accused the Adityanath-led government of conspiring to prove that the complainant is a “liar”, PTI reports. He has made the remark in the context of the Uttar Pradesh Police claiming that the woman was not raped.
5.48 pm: Samajwadi Party workers have been baton charged by the police in Hazratganj area in Lucknow during a protest march against the incident, PTI reports.
5.17 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attends a prayer meet in Delhi for the young woman from Hathras, ANI reports.
4.17 pm: Heavy police presence is seen in Boolgarhi village of Hathras district.
4.12 pm: Uttar Pradesh minister Ajit Singh Pal says the Opposition is picking up “small cases”, News18 reports. “The government is working towards the case,” he says. “The opposition does not have any solid matter so they are picking up small cases. The medical report does not confirm rape in the case.”
4.06 pm: Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says politicising the Hathtras gangrape is wrong, ANI reports. “An incident as the Hathras one is definitely condemnable,” he says. “Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi marched to Hathras, but what about their stance on crimes against women in Congress-ruled Rajasthan. So their act is unfair.”
4.02 pm: Hathras Additional Superintendent of Police Prakash Kumar says the media will not be allowed to visit the area till the Special Investigation Team completes its investigation in the case, ANI reports. “Due to the prevailing law and order situation, no political delegations or individuals will be allowed to visit the village,” he adds.
3.48 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the government is committed to safety, security of all women amid outrage over the Hathras gangrape.
“Those who even think of harming mothers and daughters in Uttar Pradesh, their destruction is assured,” he tweets. “They will get such punishment that will set an example for the future. The govt of UP is committed to the safety and security and development of all mothers and sisters. This is our commitment and promise.”
2.57 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’ Brien has been manhandled and pushed to the ground by the police, NDTV reports. The incident took place after O’ Brien and his supporters tried to enter the village where the woman lived.
2.30 pm: Congress leader Sachin Pilot criticises the behaviour of Uttar Pradesh police and the administration towards party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, saying the Adityanath government was trying to “suppress the voice of Opposition”, reports PTI.
2.25 pm: Hathras Sub Divisional Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena dismisses allegations that male constables touched woman MPs after a delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs were stopped from entering the district in Uttar Pradesh, reports ANI. “The allegations are totally false,” he adds. “Women constables requested them to go back as no one is allowed to enter the village. When they tied to enter forcibly, women constables stopped them.”
1.44 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut condemns the forcible detention of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi by the Uttar Pradesh Police, ANI reports. “Rahul Gandhi is a national political leader,” Raut says. “We may have differences with Congress but nobody can support police’s behaviour with him. His collar was caught and he was pushed to the ground, in a way it’s gangrape of country’s democracy.”
The Congress leaders were detained on Thursday while they were on their way to visit the deceased woman’s family in Hathras. Gautam Buddh Nagar Additional Commissioner (Law and Order) Love Kumar had said they were released after signing personal bonds.
1.25 pm: Members of an upper-caste community in Uttar Pradesh hold protests in Hathras to support the four men who are accused of raping and brutally assaulting the young Dalit woman, The Times of India reports. The four men have been arrested.
1.20 pm: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad calls for a protest on Friday evening at Delhi’s India Gate – where large gatherings have been banned – to demand answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the gangrape of the young Dalit woman.
“ How long will you stay silent, Prime Minister?,” Azad asks in a video message. “You will have to give answers. Today, at 5 pm, we are coming to India Gate to demand answers. Your silence is a danger for our daughters.”
1.18 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Pratima Mondal says the police misbehaved with the politicians and baton charged them, ANI reports. “We were going to meet her family but there were not allowing us,” she adds. “When we insisted, the women Police personnel pulled at our blouses and lathi-charged at our MP Pratima Mondal. She fell down. The male police officers touched her. This is shameful.”
1.18 pm: The TMC MPs allege they were just 1.5 km away from the woman’s house, NDTV reports . Photos and videos showed police personnel roughing up the politicians.
1.17 pm: A delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs, including Derek O’Brien, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Pratima Mondalhave, were stopped by the Uttar Pradesh Police at the Hathras border, as they attempted to make their way to the village of a young Dalit woman who died after she was gangraped by four men from the Thakur community, The Indian Express reports.