The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday said the four accused in the gangrape and torture of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras in September were formally charged with the crimes, reported NDTV. The development in the case came more than three months after the incident, which sparked a countrywide outrage.
The central agency has invoked charges under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376A (punishment for rape), 376D (gangrape) and 302 (punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act were imposed, according to The Indian Express. The investigating agency filed its chargesheet before a Hathras court.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman had succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Delhi on September 29. The rape had garnered more attention after the woman was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on September 30 without the presence of her family members.
On October 27, the Supreme Court had directed the Allahabad High Court to monitor the CBI investigation. Earlier in the month, the Allahabad High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case and the events leading up to the woman’s cremation. It had said the government’s decision to cremate the woman in the middle of the night, even though done in the name of the law and order situation, was prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench had on October 6 called the incident “extraordinary” and “shocking”. It had also directed the Central Reserve Police Force to provide security to the woman’s family and witnesses in the case.
On November 25, the CBI submitted a status report on the inquiry into the Hathras gangrape case before the Allahabad High Court. The agency had then said its inquiry would be over by December 10. However, on Wednesday, it asked for more time from the Allahabad High Court to conclude its investigation into the Hathras gangrape case.