The Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking the release of the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district, who died last month after four upper caste Thakur men gangraped and tortured her, reported Bar and Bench.
A habeas corpus petition was filed by a Valmiki organisation named Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat’s on behalf of the family against their “illegal confinement” at home by district authorities.
Justices Prakash Padia and Pritinker Diwaker said the matter was already before the Supreme Court. It added that it would not be proper for the High Court to “entertain the present petition on merits, especially when security has been provided to petitioners 1 to 6 and other family members of the deceased victim-girl”.
However, the court said that the petitioners have the liberty to file an appropriate petition before the Supreme Court.
“...judicial propriety demands that it will not be proper for this Court to entertain the present petition on merits, especially when security has been provided to petitioners 1 to 6 and other family members of the deceased victim-girl on the observation made by the Hon’ble Apex Court and also on the basis of the directions issued by the Lucknow Bench of this Court on 01.10.2020 in a Suo Motu Petition.”— Allahabad High Court
In the habeas corpus petition, it was alleged that the family was locked up in their house by the district administration on September 29 (the day she woman died) and September 30. They also said that they were not being allowed to meet and talk to other people freely.
On September 14, four upper caste Thakur men had brutally raped and tortured the woman, who succumbed to her injuries on September 29. The Uttar Pradesh administration had then hurriedly cremated her body against her family’s wishes while they had been locked inside their home, leading to an outpouring of anger and protests across the country.
The Hathras gangrape case has become emblematic of the caste-based violence faced by Dalit women in Uttar Pradesh. Besides this, the sequence of events around the crime and the hasty cremation by authorities have also raised doubts whether this was done to suppress medical evidence of sexual assault.