The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district on Wednesday arrested two more accused in connection with the alleged killing of a 50-year old man, who had filed a police complaint regarding his daughter’s molestation. The woman’s father was allegedly shot by a person named Gaurav Sharma, who was briefly jailed in 2018 on the molestation charge, and has since been out on bail.
In a press note, the police identified the two accused as Rohitash Sharma and Nikhil Sharma. However, the prime accused Gaurav Sharma, is still at large, according to PTI. Hathras Superintendent of Police Vineet Jaiswal said people who provide information leading to his arrest would get a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh. Five teams have been formed to trace Gaurav Sharma, he said.
One of the accused, Lalitesh Sharma, was held by the police on Tuesday.
The incident took place around 4.30 pm on Monday, when an argument between the families of the woman and the accused outside a village temple escalated.
In videos shot by local journalists, the woman can be seen crying outside a police station and demanding justice. “Please give me justice... please give me justice,” she is heard saying. “First, he molested me and now he has shot my father. He had come to our village. There were six-seven people. My father had no enmity against anyone. His name is Gaurav Sharma.”
Hathras has been in news since September, when four upper-caste men raped and brutally assaulted a Dalit woman. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The woman had suffered suffered multiple fractures, a spinal injury and a deep cut in her tongue. On September 30, the police hurriedly cremated the body of the victim around 3 am. The woman’s parents alleged that the police did not allow them to be present at the cremation site or even have a look at the body before the final rites.
The Uttar Pradesh administration has consistently denied that the woman was raped, based on a report from the forensic lab that had said there were no traces of sperm in samples taken from her. However, the chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College – where the woman was admitted – said the forensic lab’s report “holds no value” as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the crime was committed. Experts have also pointed out that since the samples for the test were collected many days after the crime was committed, sperm would not be present. The autopsy report of the woman had showed that she was strangled and suffered a cervical spine injury. The final diagnosis did not mention rape, but had pointed out that there were tears in her genitalia and there had been “use of force”.