Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti on Friday told Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to allow mediapersons and politicians to enter Hathras district to meet the family of a Dalit woman, whose brutal gangrape by four upper-caste men has sparked nationwide outrage.
In a series of tweets, Bharti said the credibility of the Uttar Pradesh government and the BJP was being questioned.
Politicians and some civil society members have attempted to visit Hathras, after a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly raped died in a Delhi hospital.
The BJP leader said that there is no law that prevents individuals from meeting the family of the complainant during an inquiry by a special investigation team. She said such a rule would in fact bring doubt upon the credibility of the SIT. Bharti also criticised the haste with which the woman’s body was cremated by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
“She was the daughter of a Dalit family,” Bharti tweeted. “The police conducted her last rites with great haste and now the police have isolated the family and the village.”
The BJP leader said that while her party wants to create “Ram Rajya” in India and has laid the foundation stone of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, the way the police have handled the Hathras case has spoilt the image of Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh government and the saffron party.
“I am senior to you in the BJP and like an elder sister to you,” Bharti told Adityanath. “I urge you not to decline my suggestions.”
Bharti is currently admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as she has been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were on Thursday stopped from travelling to Hathras and then detained. They were later released and escorted back to New Delhi.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien was on Friday pushed to the ground by the Uttar Pradesh police when he was going to Hathras district in the state to meet the family members of the Dalit woman. A delegation of the party MPs, including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Pratima Mondalhave, were stopped by the police as they tried to enter the village.
The family members of the deceased woman have also alleged that they have been prevented from talking to the media.
Massive protests are under way especially in Delhi against the rape and murder in Hathras. A large crowd gathered at Jantar Mantar and India Gate on Friday evening. At Jantar Mantar, the protestors were joined by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, several leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury also reached the place.
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.
Adityanath has said that his government is committed to the safety of all women. “Those who even think of harming mothers and daughters in Uttar Pradesh, their destruction is assured,” the chief minister said in a tweet. “They will get such punishment that will set an example for the future. The government of UP is committed to the safety and security and development of all mothers and sisters. This is our commitment and promise.”