Hathras Rape Victim's Family Wants Judicial Probe, DM Suspended, Say Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi after Meeting Them
Congress leaders Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi meet the family members of the Dalit woman who died after being allegedly raped, in Hathras on Saturday. (PTI)
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday evening met the family of the Dalit woman who died earlier this week after being alleged gang-raped in September, triggering a nationwide outrage.
Even as the Gandhis met the family, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that the probe in the "entire incident" has been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Villagers gathered outside as the Congress leaders entered the family's home. Some were seen on the rooftops nearby, waiting to catch a glimpse of the Congress leaders. Videos showed Priyanka Gandhi hugging the victim's mother, saying "The Congress is with you in this hour of crisis."
As with the DGP and Additional Chief Secretary's meeting with the family, the district administration had arranged seating on a mat on the floor. However, Rahul Gandhi took the deceased's father and brothers to a separate room and locked it, with media personnel remaining outside.
After speaking to the family for about 15 minutes, Priyanka Gandhi said, "The family wants a judicial inquiry into the incident and removal of the District Magistrate. They also want security."
The family has also demanded an inquiry by the Supreme Court into the matter, she added.
"The family couldn't see their daughter for one last time," said Priyanka Gandhi, referring to the victim's hurried cremation in the dead of the night, in the absence of her family members. "Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should understand his responsibility. Till the time justice is delivered, we will continue this fight. It is the UP government's duty to protect the family of the Hathras gang-rape victim."
"No power in the world can suppress the family's voice," said Rahul Gandhi. "The UP government must protect the family."
The victim's brother said the Gandhis have given them a cheque and promised financial aid.
Taking to Twitter later, Priyanka Gandhi listed out several questions and demands of the victim's family.
"A judicial investigation of the whole case should be done through Supreme Court 2. Suspend Hathras DM and not place him in any major post," she said in a tweet in Hindi. "3. Why was the body of our daughter burnt with petrol without asking us? 4. Why are we being bullied repeatedly?"
हाथरस के पीड़ित परिवार के प्रश्न:1. सुप्रीम कोर्ट के जरिए पूरे मामले की न्यायिक जाँच हो2. हाथरस DM को सस्पेंड किया जाए और किसी बड़े पद पर नहीं लगाया जाए3. हमारी बेटी के शव को बगैर हमसे पूछे पेट्रोल से क्यों जलाया गया?4. हमें बार-बार गुमराह किया, धमकाया क्यों जा रहा है? 1/2— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) October 3, 2020
"It is the right of this family to get answers to these questions and the UP government will have to give answers," the Congress general secretary in-charge of UP said in another tweet.
After meeting the family, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "I met the Hathras victim's family and understood their pain. I assured them that we are standing with them in this difficult time and will provide all help in getting justice for them."
"The UP government will not be able to act in an arbitrary way as the whole country is standing for ensuring justice to the daughter of the country," he said in the tweet in Hindi.
UP authorities had scuttled an earlier attempt by the two leaders to travel to Hathras, detaining them and several party workers in Greater Noida outside Delhi on Thursday.
On Saturday, the Congress staged another demonstration at the Delhi-Noida border where party workers scuffled with the police and were allegedly lathi-charged. When a delegation of Congress MPs and other leaders reached the barricades, the Noida police said they will allow only five party representatives to meet the family at their village in Hathras, about 150 km away.
The 19-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped on September 14 in an assault by four upper caste men that left her critically injured. She died at a Delhi hospital last Tuesday.
(With inputs from agencies)