After the high drama on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party’s UP general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met the Hathras gangrape victim’s family on Saturday evening. Vadra could be seen consoling the victim’s mother. Senior state government officials and police officers visited the victim’s family as well.
The Congress had planned to take some MPs along to meet the family but barring KC Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, nobody else was allowed to go to Hathras by the state government. At the Noida toll booth, there were unruly scenes as police didn’t allow the entourage to come into UP. A brief lathicharge was also seen in which Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could be seen protecting party workers from police lathis by shielding them.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman had been gang-raped in mid-September and had died after two weeks of hospitalisation. The UP Police had cremated her remains in a hush-hush operation at 2.30 am. Four upper caste men are under arrest for the crime. The victim’s mother had told the media earlier today that the upper castes had asked them to leave the village. She said she wanted justice for her daughter. Reports also said that the upper castes had staged their own demonstration demanding a CBI probe into the incident. They also said the four arrested people are innocent.
The Yogi Adityanath government had come in for criticism for what the opposition calls a state of lawlessness with rapes being regularly reported from many parts of the state. The government has already appointed an SIT to probe the case.
This was the Congress leaders’ second attempt to visit Hathras. An earlier attempt on Thursday saw the Gandhis being detained for a short period and sent back to Delhi citing orders banning large gatherings amid coronavirus fears. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien was also manhandled as he too tried to speak to the family.