Rajat Sharma

Yogi must ensure that Hathras rapists are hanged without any delay

akb2908The nation is outraged over the horrific gangrape and torture of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, who succumbed to injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital on Tuesday. Along with millions of Indians, I am deeply perturbed over the brutal manner in which four youths gangraped the girl in a field, then beat her up causing severe spinal injuries leaving her in a paralysed state, and tried to cut off her tongue.
The victim lay naked in the field groaning and it was her mother who came and covered her with her saree. For 15 days, the girl fought with death and ultimately succumbed to injuries in Delhi. The local administration did not come to her help. Throughout this period, the behaviour of local police was shoddy and insensitive, to say the least.
Let me put all the facts in perspective. On September 14 morning, the girl and her mother had gone to the field in Chandpa area to cut grass, when four youths pounced upon the girl, tied her face with a dupatta, took her to a ‘bajra’ (millet) field, gangraped her and beat her up severely causing spinal injuries. The unconscious girl was rescued by her mother. The local police did not reach the spot. She was taken by her family members to the police station.
The local police, instead of sending her to a hospital immediately in an ambulance to save her life, started questioning the victim’s family members in detail about the gangrape incident. Throughout this period, the girl was lying on the floor groaning, due to severe injuries. When the family members finally took her to the local health centre, she was immediately referred to Aligarh medical college, where her condition started deteriorating. Ultimately, the girl was brought to Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital, where she died a day after being admitted.
On Tuesday night, there was more drama at Safdarjang Hospital, when UP police whisked away the victim’s body, despite protests by her family members, and cremated her at around 2.30 am at a funeral ground near Bool Garhi village, in the absence of her parents and close family members. Only a handful of villagers were brought by police to watch the cremation. The immediate family members were not allowed to have a last look at the girl either in Delhi or in their village before cremation.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said that a three-member Special Investigation Team headed by state Home Secretary, will probe the entire case and submit its report within seven days. Yogi said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for “strictest action” against the rape accused, and a fast track court will take up the case soon.
In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night, I had played the audio of the victim describing the horrendous incident and naming the rapists. She was barely able to speak because of severe injuries to her tongue and also because of severe spinal injuries that caused paralysis.
Initially, the local police filed an FIR against only one youth, but they had to add the names of three others after public protests. The victim revealed the name of all four rapists while giving her statement a week after the incident. She was unable to speak initially because of serious injuries to her tongue.
All the four accused are now in custody, and political parties of different hues, like the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Chandrashekhar Azad’s Bhim Army, are now trying to make political capital out of it by organizing protests. The Samajwadi Party and BSP supremo Mayawati have, till now, kept a low profile by posting tweets condemning the incident.
This horrific gangrape and murder reminds us of a similar tragedy in Delhi with Nirbhaya, eight years ago. At that time, there were nationwide protests and the government had to make stringent laws to curb cases of sexual assault. It took seven years to bring the rapists to justice. The convicts were hanged in March this year after a prolonged legal battle.
In the Hathras case, the local police, including the IG, DM and SP initially denied that there was any rape. One senior official claimed that no evidence of rape was found after clinical examination. They stuck to the theory that the youths only misbehaved with the girl. But later, after tremendous public pressure, senior police officials admitted that the victim was gang raped.
One senior police official claimed that the assailants did not try to cut off the girl’s tongue. The official said, her tongue injury was caused because it came between her two jaws in course of assault. The officer questioned how the girl could have given her statement if her tongue was cut off. This is really shameful and insensitive to the core. On one hand, the girl died because of grave injuries and on the other hand, this police officer was saying how she could speak if her tongue was cut off. Since the girl and her family come from a poor family, the police officials thought they could get away by making such insensitive remarks.
I do not want to say much about our politicians. Most of them have an eye on the vote, and they have fake sympathy towards the girl’s parents and family members. You have heard what the local administration and police had to say. I have still hope from UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Let us hope he ensures that justice is given to the girl’s family and the perpetrators of this dastardly crime are hanged till death. The sooner, the better.

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