Hathras Gangrape: Cong, Bhim Army Stage Protests In UP
Congress and Bhim Army workers held demonstrations in different parts of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday over the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman a fortnight ago and demanded stern punishment for the culprits. A report from Hathras said tempers ran high in the victim's village when Panchayti Raj Minister Bhupendra Chaudhary, who is also in charge of the district, reached there along with the local MP, MLA and other BJP leaders.
- Last Updated: September 30, 2020, 19:39 IST
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Lucknow: Congress and Bhim Army workers held demonstrations in different parts of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday over the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman a fortnight ago and demanded stern punishment for the culprits. A report from Hathras said tempers ran high in the victim’s village when Panchayti Raj Minister Bhupendra Chaudhary, who is also in charge of the district, reached there along with the local MP, MLA and other BJP leaders.
Besides justice for the victim and capital punishment to the culprits, the locals also demanded a transfer of district officials. The woman died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday and was cremated in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras in the early hours of Wednesday, with her family members alleging that the local police forced them to perform her last rites at the dead of night.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu led the protesters to the chief minister’s residence in the state capital here, but they were stopped at the VVIP guest house, state media convenor of the party Lalan Kumar said. He claimed that a number of Congress workers were injured as police used batons to stop them from proceeding towards the chief minister’s residence.
“Lallu was bodily stopped by the policemen, who were deployed in large numbers, and he, along with others, was held and taken to the Eco Garden,” Kumar said. He said Congress workers, led by the party’s Dalit wing district unit chief Kuldeep, staged a sit-in in Hathras demanding justice for the gangrape victim and their colleagues in Varanasi gheraoed the prime minister’s office.
Reports of Congress workers staging protests also came in from other parts of the state, including Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Chandauli, Chitrakoot and Pratapgarh, Kumar said, adding that they were taken into custody at several places. A report from Hathras said Chaudhary reached the village of the woman to meet the bereaved family when the locals complained about the manner in which her last rites were performed at the dead of night and demanded a transfer of senior district officials over the incident, a family member of the victim said.
The minister told them he would take up their demand with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and assured them that the culprits would not be allowed to go scot free. Protests were staged in Hathras by the Balmiki Samaj and the Congress, with the protesters clashing with policemen at several places. There were reports of stonepelting and a motorcycle being set ablaze, but there was no official confirmation.
Samajwadi Party (SP) MLC Yashwant Singh was stopped by the Hathras police from proceeding towards the victim’s village. Additional police has been deployed and the situation in Hathras is now under control, the police said. A report from Aligarh said Bhim Army workers staged a protest in Hathras and Tappal towns, alleging that the chief of the outfit, Chandrashekhar Azad, has been detained by the Uttar Pradesh police.
Earlier in the day, functionaries of the Azad Samaj Party, which was launched by the Bhim Army chief in March, claimed that Azad and the Bhim Army’s Delhi unit head Himanshu Balmiki went missing after 10 pm on Tuesday while they were on their way to Hathras, accompanying the family of the gangrape victim. There was, however, no official confirmation of Azad’s arrest, despite efforts to contact senior police officers.
The Nagar Nigam Safai Karmacharis’ Union of Aligarh boycotted all civic work as a token protest. They have also formed the Balmiki Sangharsh Samiti, which has submitted a memorandum to the president demanding that the culprits of the Hathras gangrape be hanged. Local leaders belonging to a number of political parties participated in a meeting of the samiti on Tuesday night and candlelight protests were held in the Civil Lines police station area.
Separate protests were held by the Congress and the SP. A candlelight march was taken out on the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus and a large number of students handed over a memorandum addressed to the president to the city magistrate.
Heavy police patrolling is underway in all sensitive areas of Aligarh. The additional district magistrate (city), Malpani said no untoward incident has been reported and the situation in the localities on the Agra road, where protests were staged over the Hathras gangrape on Tuesday evening, is normal now.
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