Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Saturday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Hathras rape and murder case, the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted. The case was so far being handled by a special investigation team of the Uttar Pradesh Police. However, it is unclear if a state’s chief minister can order a CBI inquiry.
Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi along with three other party MPs were on Saturday allowed to go to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday to meet the family of the 19-year-old woman who died after she was brutally assaulted and allegedly gangraped. On Thursday, they had been stopped from travelling to Hathras, and escorted back to Delhi.
The sister of the woman claimed on Saturday that police had cremated someone else’s body earlier this week. The mother of the 19-year-old woman said the police did not hand over her daughter’s body after her death. “These people didn’t let me see the body of my girl even after I kept begging for it,” the mother said.
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday turned the district of Hathras into a virtual fortress as hundreds 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 village of the deceased woman was flooded with over 300 policemen who came in 17 police vehicles. The woman’s family alleged their phones have been confiscated and they have been virtually placed under house arrest.
Congress and Samajwadi Party workers on Saturday protested against the Hathras incident, shouting anti-government slogans at Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani in Varanasi. The protestors tried to block Irani’s cavalcade but were later arrested. This came after Irani criticised Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Hathras.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday claimed that the Centre is running a “dictatorship” in the country, and that the Bharatiya Janata Party is a “pandemic” that is torturing Dalits the most. Banerjee claimed that instead of running a government “for the people”, the BJP ran a government “against the people, the Dalits and the farmers”.
A group of former civil servants wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath about the “brazen violation of the rule of law” in the state, in the context of the Hathras case. The 92 signatories to the letter severely criticised the handling of the case by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Television channel India Today on Friday issued a statement asking the government to explain how a conversation by one of its journalists, 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. Scroll.in was not able to independently verify the audio clip.
An Uttar Pradesh minister, SK Khanna, on Saturday backed the administration’s claims that the Hathras complainant was not raped, based on swab samples taken a few days after the crime occurred. He added that even then, the chief minister acted against five police officers.
The woman’s family demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe, saying the Special Investigation Team is “hand in glove” with the accused. The mother said 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 said. “We don’t want CBI enquiry.”