Hathras Gangrape: Oppn Parties Protest Across UP; Locals Demand Transfer Of District Officials
Workers of several opposition parties protested in parts of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday against the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died at a Delhi hospital a fortnight after being brutalised by four men, as tempers ran high in her village in Hathras district during a visit by BJP leaders. Congress and Balmiki Samaj members clashed with police at several places in Hathras. Reports of stone-pelting and a motorcycle being set ablaze were also received.
- Last Updated: September 30, 2020, 21:21 IST
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Lucknow: Workers of several opposition parties protested in parts of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday against the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died at a Delhi hospital a fortnight after being brutalised by four men, as tempers ran high in her village in Hathras district during a visit by BJP leaders. Congress and Balmiki Samaj members clashed with police at several places in Hathras. Reports of stone-pelting and a motorcycle being set ablaze were also received.
State Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu led a group of protesters to the Chief Minister’s residence at 5 Kalidas Marg in Lucknow but were stopped by police. Party leader Lalan Kumar said several Congress workers were injured in baton charge by police. “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.
The Samajwadi party also tried to march to the CM residence but they too were asked to stop and lathicharged, a senior party leader said, accusing the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh of “suppressing the democratic rights” of opposition parties. In Hathras, locals protested demanding justice for the woman, who was raped by four upper caste men on September 14 and referred to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi with spinal injuries, paralysis and cuts in her tongue. She died around 3 am on Tuesday.
The body was cremated early Wednesday, with her family members alleging that the local police forced them to perform the last rites in the dead of the night. The village residents demanded transfer of district officials and capital punishment to the culprits when Panchayti Raj Minister Bhupendra Chaudhary, who is also the in-charge of the district, reached there with the local MP, the MLA and other BJP leaders.
Chaudhary told them he would take up their demand with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and also assured them that the culprits would not be allowed to go scot free. Police said additional force has been deployed in Hathras and other sensitive areas and the situation is “under control”.
Reports of Congress workers staging protest also came in from other parts of the state, including Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Chandauli, Chitrakoot and Pratapgarh. Congress leader Lalan Kumar said several workers were taken into custody.
He said Congress workers gheraoed the prime minister’s local office in Varanasi. Earlier Wednesday, the functionaries of Azad Samaj Party, launched by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in March, claimed Azad and his outfit’s Delhi unit head Himanshu Balmiki have been “missing” since 10 pm Tuesday when they were accompanying the family of the gangrape victim to Hathras from Delhi.
They alleged Azad has been detained by Uttar Pradesh police but there was no official confirmation of his arrest despite efforts to contact senior police officers. Meanwhile, the Nagar Nigam Safai Karmacharis’ Union of Aligarh boycotted all civic work and formed a Balmiki Sangharsh Samiti to demand justice for the victim.
The Samiti held a meeting on Tuesday night which was attended by local leaders of several political parties and took out a candlelight march in Civil Lines police station area. A separate candlelight march was taken out by Aligarh Muslim University students who handed over a memorandum addressed to the president to the city magistrate. Additional District Magistrate (Aligarh City) Malpani said no untoward incident has been reported and the situation in the localities on the Agra road, where protests were staged on Tuesday evening, is normal.
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