Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra late on Saturday put forth a list of questions and demands to the Uttar Pradesh government from the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman who was gangraped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district by four upper-caste Thakur men.
In a series of tweets, the Congress general secretary said the family wanted a judicial inquiry into the case. They also asked that Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Laxkar be suspended and not given a senior post, she said. The demand came in view of a purported video of Laxkar where he can be heard threatening the woman’s family and asking them to change their statement.
“Do not finish your credibility,” Laxkar can be heard telling the family. “These media people...some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change.” The district magistrate has denied making the remarks.
In a subsequent tweet on Sunday, Vadra ramped up her attack on the district magistrate.
“The district magistrate [PK Laxkar] behaved the worst with the family of the Hathras victim,” she tweeted. “Who is saving him? He should be dismissed immediately and an inquiry ordered into the matter.” She also asked why the government was talking about a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry but continuing with the probe by special investigation team, even though the family has asked for a judicial investigation.
“If the UP government has woken up from its sleep, it should listen to the family.”— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Vadra on Saturday also said that the family wanted to know why their daughter’s body was burnt with petrol without their consent. The Congress leader asked why they were being repeatedly misled and threatened by authorities. In her fifth question, Vadra said the family was given “flowers” from the woman’s funeral pyre, but asked how they can believe that the body was their daughter’s.
“It is the right of this family to get answers to these questions and the UP [Uttar Pradesh] government will have to give these answers,” Vadra added.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also attacked the Adityanath-led government over the matter.
I met the family of the Hathras victim and understood their pain. I assured them that we stand with them in this difficult time and will help them get justice. The UP [Uttar Pradesh] government will not be able to act in an arbitrary way because the whole country has stood up to ensure justice for her.— Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi had on Saturday met the Dalit woman’s family after the police allowed them and three other Congress leaders to travel to their home in Hathras. The two said they would continue the family’s fight for justice, adding that no power could stifle the family’s voice.
On Thursday, the police had filed a case against Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, after detaining them on their way to Hathras and escorting them back to Delhi. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien was pushed to the ground by the Uttar Pradesh Police, while other MPs from the party alleged they were touched and misbehaved with, all while attempting to visit the complainant’s family.
Four upper-caste Thakur men had tortured and raped the Dalit woman on September 14. She died on September 29 at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The four men have been arrested. However, the woman was hastily cremated by the police, which has evoked shock and outrage across the country. State authorities have also claimed that the woman was not raped, based on physical evidence taken days after the crime, and alleged that the rape was fabricated by some people trying to stir caste tensions.