30 Sep 2020
Late-night cremation for Hathras gang-rape victim against family's wishes
Hitting a new low, the Uttar Pradesh Police forcibly cremated the 19-year-old Dalit woman, who was gang-raped by four men of upper caste earlier this month, against the family's wishes in Hathras.
The victim succumbed to her injuries in Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday, was brought to her native place, but wasn't taken to her home one last time.
Here's what happened.
Context: Out for farm-related work, the victim was brutally raped
The victim was attacked on September 14, when she was out in the field cutting grass with her family. The accused — Sandeep, Ramu, Lavkush, and Ravi — dragged her using her dupatta, raped her, and dumped her in a field.
After initially undergoing treatment at an Aligarh Hospital, she was transferred to Delhi.
The victim's tongue and spinal cord had deep injuries.
Series of events
Victim was transported to UP amidst heavy force deployment
After the news of her demise surfaced, dozens flocked to the hospital to protest and demand justice for her. The details of the injuries she suffered brought back memories of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case, whose four perpetrators were hanged earlier this year.
To handle the angry crowd, a considerable amount of cops were deployed last evening.
Subsequently, the victim was brought to UP.
Police's intentions about cremation miffed villagers, they protested
The victim's mortal remains were brought to village Boolgarhi, where the assault happened, late at night. There, the family asked for permission to take her body home, but their requests fell on deaf ears.
As the police seemed determined to cremate her in the dead of the night, protesters tried stopping the vehicle.
"We will not let you burn our girl forcibly," they said.
When family demanded to take daughter home, cops stopped them
At one point during the showdown between cops and police, a woman jumped on the bonnet of the vehicle, beating her chest, announcing that the victim shouldn't be cremated in a hurry.
The inconsolable family asked cops why they were not allowing a dignified goodbye.
A senior cop is believed to have replied that it's not proper to delay the cremation.
Despite ruckus, victim was cremated
Eventually, the cops managed to get the vehicle to the funeral ground and off-loaded the victim's body. The last rites were performed while most of the family members were shunned, reports India Today.
The cremation happened between 2:30 and 2:45 am.
"It appears that my sister has been cremated; the police are not telling us anything," the victim's brother told Indian Express.
Wanted to wait for relatives for cremation: Victim's brother
"They (police) were in haste and were forcing us to do it immediately. They said it has been 24 hrs and the body is decomposing. We wanted to do it (cremation) in the morning as more relatives would've come by then," a brother told ANI.
Here are the visuals from the spot
ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE - Right behind me is the body of #HathrasCase victim burning. Police barricaded the family inside their home and burnt the body without letting anybody know. When we questioned the police, this is what they did. pic.twitter.com/0VgfQGjjfb— Tanushree Pandey (@TanushreePande) September 29, 2020
Three-member SIT formed, report to be submitted in seven days
As India woke up to horrifying visuals from last night, there was an outpouring of grief and anger on social media, with some demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Facing criticism, Adityanath formed a three-member SIT for investigation. The team will submit a report in seven days.
The trial against the arrested accused would be conducted in a fast-track court, he ordered.