Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the murder and alleged gangrape of a Dalit woman by upper caste Thakurs in Hathras town. The woman’s family had demanded a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry, saying the state’s Special Investigation Team was “hand in glove” with the accused.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra went to Hathras district to meet the family of a Dalit woman who was gangraped and killed by upper caste Thakur men. Gandhi and his sister were briefly detained on Thursday as they tried to visit Hathras, on the grounds that there was a ban on public assembly in the area.
Developments around the woman’s death have sparked nationwide anger and protests. Criticism mounted after the woman’s family said the police cremated her body hurriedly and without their consent, an allegation officials have continued to deny.
Here are updates from the day:
8.45 pm: After meeting the woman’s family, Priyanka Gandhi says the Congress will not stop until they get justice, reports PTI.
We will fight against injustice, and fight till justice is done, PTI quotes Gandhi as saying. She and her brother spoke to the family for around 45 minutes, reports say.
8.35 pm: Chief Minister Adityanath orders an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Hathras gangrape and killing. However, it is unclear if a state’s chief minister can order a CBI inquiry.
8.20 pm: After Union minister Smriti Irani suggested that Congress leaders are going to Hathras only to politicise the gangrape, she has been heckled by both Congress and Samajwadi Party workers.
7.56 pm: They meet the gangrape complainant’s family.
7.44 pm: Five Congress leaders, including Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, reach Hathras, reports News18.
7.40 pm: An Uttar Pradesh minister, SK Khanna, backs the administration’s claims that the Hathras complainant was not raped, based on swab samples taken a few days after the crime occurred. He adds that even then, the chief minister acted against five police officers, ANI reports.
7.16 pm: The additional chief secretary (home) of Uttar Pradesh, says the special investigation team put together by the state will address all the family’s grievances, reports Hindustan Times.
“It was an unfortunate incident and thus, we came to meet the family members and assured them that the guilty won’t be spared,” Awanish Awasthi says. “The DGP has promised that security will be provided continuously in the village so that peace and tranquillity continues.”
Awasthi and the director general of police visited the family of the Hathras complainant on Saturday.
7.11 pm: Some Samajwadi Party workers, including its youth wing vice president, have been booked by police for protesting against the state’s handling of the gangrape case, in Muzaffarnagar, reports PTI.
6.36 pm: The Congress tweets a short clip of its leader Priyanka Gandhi caught in a tussle between police and party workers that took place at the Delhi-Noida border earlier in the evening.
6.29 pm: The director general of police, Uttar Pradesh, says they have noted all of the grievances put forward by the family of the woman who was gangraped in Hathras, reports Times Now. “We have spoken to the local authorities of Hathras and I would like to assure everyone that we will take stringent action against those responsible,” he says.
6 pm: Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale urges people not to stir caste tensions and play caste politics, reports PTI.
“What has happened in Hathras is most terrible, the incident of rape on a Dalit girl is a very serious issue,” he says. However, he adds that it is not correct to say that atrocities against Dalits are higher during Chief Minister Adityanath’s rule. “It is right that atrocities are taking place but it had been so during the Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Akhilesh (Yadav) governments also,” he says.
5.21 pm: Mamata Banerjee, at the protest march, says the attacks taking place today against Dalits and minorities is “completely unacceptable”, reports PTI.
“I will stand by my Dalit brothers and sisters, for me my caste is humanity,” she says.
5.16 pm: Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister, takes part in a protest march against the gangrape in Kolkata.
5.10 pm: Reports say that police have baton charged Congress workers protesting at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during a brief clash.
5.06 pm: Meanwhile, protests continue in various parts of the country against the gangrape and the administration’s handling of it. Here are some images from Bengaluru and Guwahati:
4.44 pm: The Shiv Sena has asked the BJP whether the woman’s dying declaration that she was gang raped had no value, NDTV reports. The party also called the manhandling of Opposition leaders while trying to meet the victim’s family a “gang rape of democracy”.
4.37 pm: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says that the “evidence has been cremated, truth has been cremated” after the last rites of the woman were conducted, Times Now reports. “Now you suspend somebody – what difference does it make? What is important now is for us to show solidarity with this family...” He says the behaviour of the Uttar Pradesh government has been disgraceful.
4.31 pm: Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu says he has been put under house arrest to stop him from going to Hathras, PTI reports.
4.17 pm: Valmiki community members clash with police in Agra while protesting against Hathras incident, PTI reports.
4.10 pm: Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have been allowed to enter Uttar Pradesh, reports NDTV. Three other Congress leaders have also been allowed to accompany them.
3.55 pm: According to NDTV, the Gandhis have been stopped at the Uttar Pradesh border.
3.24 pm: Some photos of the heavy security on the way to Hathras.
3.10 pm: Several Congress MPs are also visiting Hathras along with the Gandhis.
3.04 pm: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is also planning to visit Hathras.
3.02 pm: Police have been deployed across the Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway and on the way to Hathras as Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi attempt to visit Hathras, reports India Today.
2.56 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on his way to meet the woman’s family.
1.03 pm: Police personnel put up barricades at the toll plaza on Delhi Noida Direct Flyway ahead of the Congress delegation’s visit to Hathras.
1.01 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says the Adityanath government is “morally corrupt” and accuses it of threatening the family of the Dalit woman. “The victim did not get treatment, her complaint was not registered on time, her body was forcibly cremated, the family is in captivity, they are being suppressed – now they are being threatened that they will have to undergo a narco test,” she says. “This behaviour is not acceptable to the country. Stop threatening the victim’s family.”
12.39 pm: Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi and Director General of Police HC Awasthi are on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the deceased woman, PTI reports. After returning from there, they will submit a report on the case to Chief Minister Adityanath.
11.54 pm: Ahead of his scheduled visit to Hathras, Rahul Gandhi says no one can stop him from meeting the family.
11.52 pm: The Congress says the chief of its Uttar Pradesh unit, Ajay Kumar Lallu, has been placed under house arrest ahead of the visit of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
11.50 am: The UP Police chief will visit Hathras after controversy over local administration’s handling of the case, reports NDTV.
11.26 am: Ninety-two former civil servants write to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, expressing outrage at the “brazen violation of the rule of law” in the state in context of the Hathras gangrape case.
“Just when we thought that nothing could numb our consciences and brains further, the handling of the Hathras incident by the Uttar Pradesh administration has shown that, as a nation, we are plumbing the depths of depravity and callousness in governance,” the statement says.
10.53 am: The woman’s family demands a Supreme Court-monitored probe, saying the Special Investigation Team is “hand in glove” with the accused, News18 reports. The mother says they do not want a Central Bureau Investigation-led inquiry into the case either. “The UP administration didn’t give me the body of my daughter, I kept begging,” she adds. “We don’t want CBI enquiry.”
10.49 am: Hathras Sub-Divisional Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena says the media is now allowed to enter the woman’s village in Hathras and meet her family, ANI reports. “Since SIT probe in the village is complete, the restriction on media has been lifted,” he says. Meena also dismisses allegations that the police have confiscated the phones of the woman’s family and placed them under a virtual house arrest.
10.43 am: The Delhi Police registers a case against the people who staged a protest to demand justice in the Hathras gangrape case, as well as against those who were demanding a fair investigation in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the Hindustan Times reports.
“Members of many political parties and different NGOs in different groups reached Jantar Mantar to stage a protest demanding harsh punishment for accused persons in Hathras Gangrape Case and some were demanding fair investigation in Sushant Singh Rajput death case,” the police said in a statement.
“As the protestors have violated order under section 144 CrPC in force and other laws regarding Covid-19, a case under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 3 Epidemic Act and 51(b) Disaster Management Act has been registered at Parliament Street police station against the protestors.”
10.40 am: Activist Saket Gokhale moves the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on conducting a narco-polygraph test of all the people involved in the case, including the accused and the woman’s family, Bar and Bench reports.
9.38 am: A Congress’ delegation of Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other party leaders is scheduled to meet the family of the Hathras woman.
9.25 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead a protest march in Kolkata today, reports PTI. The rally will start at 4 pm and the participants will walk from Birla Planetarium to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Central Kolkata.
9.23 am: A political controversy has erupted over an audio clip that appeared on a pro-government website and on social media purported to be of a telephone conversation between India Today reporter Tanushree Pandey and the brother of the deceased, Sandeep. Television channel India Today on Friday issued a statement asking the government to explain how a conversation by one of its journalist, who was covering the case, was leaked online. The media group questioned why the woman’s family was under kept surveillance, and the legal basis for recording and leaking the telephonic conversations.
9.20 am: Hathras has been turned into a fortress as thousands of policemen guarded the district’s borders and put up barricades about two kilometres from the village to prevent anyone from entering the area. The woman’s family has alleged that their phones have been confiscated and they have been virtually placed under house arrest, with their outdoor movements confined.
9.18 am: Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir and four other police officers were suspended on Friday amid massive outrage over the gangrape and death of a Dalit woman. The UP government is facing immense criticism about the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the exploitative caste hierarchy under Adityanath’s tenure. Earlier in the day, the chief minister had asserted that his government was committed to the safety of women.