The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary and DGP over the gangrape and brutality of a 19-year-old woman in Hathras district of the state. The NHRC took suo motu cognizance of the matter and sought responses from the state authorities within four weeks.
In a statement it said the woman, belonging to Scheduled Caste, went missing on September 14 and was found in a badly injured condition on September 22, two weeks after she was gangraped in Hathras district. She was shifted from the Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharal Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital on September 28 when her condition deteriorated and there were no signs of improvement in her health condition. The victim died at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi on September 29.
The commission has directed the state government to provide adequate protection to the family of the deceased keeping in view the gravity of the matter and aspect of the witness protection as there is apparent rift between two communities and there may be danger to the family of the deceased.
It asked the UP DGP to look personally into the matter to "ensure a speedy trial so that the culprits could be punished by the competent court without any further delay". "In the current scenario it is necessary that family of the deceased as well as other members of the SC Community residing in the village are provided proper protection by the police. Both the authorities are expected to submit their report, within the stipulated time," it said.
The statement added, "The District Magistrate, Hathras, Uttar Pradesh has reportedly stated that the accused have also been booked under the SC/ST(POA) Act and the family of the victim has been given compensation of Rupees Ten Lakhs. He has also mentioned that a Fast Track Court will be set up to hear the case to punish the culprits at the earliest."
"The Supdt. of Police, Hathras, U.P. has reportedly stated that the woman had suffered spinal injuries and he has denied the reports that the tongue of the victim was slit. He has also mentioned in his statement the In-charge of the Hathras Kotwali PS has been removed for the alleged inaction in the case and the four accused have been arrested who will be booked for the murder. He has further added that first one Sandeep Singh was arrested the day when the woman was subjected to rape and later three more accused Lovkush Sikarwar, Ramu and Ravi were arrested when the woman named them in their statement before the Magistrate, on 22.09.2020. The perpetrators reportedly tried to strangulate the victim when she tried to resist their attempts to rape her."
"...the family of the victim woman has alleged that the body of the deceased was forcibly taken away for cremation by the police personnel. The body of the deceased had reportedly reached her village around mid-night and the cremation was done by 3.00 A.M., on 30.09.2020. It is mentioned in the news report that the villagers wanted to take the body of the woman to her house but the administration pressurized for cremation at the earliest," it added.
"The police authorities have however denied the allegation. It is reportedly stated by the SP, Hathras, that the cremation was done as usual, after the body reached Boolgarhi village in Hathras. He has also stated that the situation is calm and heavy police force has been deployed in the village," further read the statement.
"The Commission has gone through the contents of the media reports which are very painful. A young woman belonging to SC community has been subjected to sexual harassment and brutality. It is apparent that the police was not able to take timely action to trace and save the victim girl due to which the young woman could not be saved from being subjected to grave cruelty. The way the perpetrators have acted shows that they had no fear of law in their mind. The family has suffered an irrevocable loss. A young and a precious human life has been lost," it stated.
"Not only this, there are also allegations made by the family that the police forcibly took away the body of the deceased for cremation have been revealed by the media. The incident has raised many questions about the law and order situation in the State. Many such incidents have occurred in the State of Uttar Pradesh where the members of the Scheduled Community have been subjected to discrimination and harassment by the people belonging to upper caste. There have been number of instances of leveling allegations of inaction against the police authorities and the administration. This is a serious issue of violation of human rights," it said.