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Hathras Case: Govt's Job to Help Victim Get Justice, Not Protect Perpetrators of Crime, Says Rahul Gandhi

File photo of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi after they were stopped by police on a highway on their way to meet family members of the Hathras victim.

File photo of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi after they were stopped by police on a highway on their way to meet family members of the Hathras victim.

Priyanka Gandhi said crimes against women are rising and instead of listening to the voice of the victim women, allegations are levelled against them and they are defamed.

Stepping up their attack on the Uttar Pradesh government over the Hathras case, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday accused it of being insensitive and unethical, and said the authorities are indulging in victim-blaming instead of putting criminals in jail.

A 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras district was allegedly raped and attacked by four men, and she later succumbed to injuries at a Delhi hospital. The Congress leaders also launched a social media campaign, urging people, especially women, to speak up for the Hathras victim.

"The government's attitude in the Hathras incident is inhuman and unethical. They are engaged in protecting the criminals rather than helping the victim's family," Rahul Gandhi said. "Let us take one step towards change, let us raise our voice against the injustice being done to women all over the country," he said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag "SpeakUpForWomenSafety".

The former Congress president said a few days ago, before he could reach Hathras, he was stopped by authorities. "I fail to understand, why was I stopped and not allowed to meet with the Hathras victim's family," he said. Rahul Gandhi alleged that the moment he reached the victim's house and talked to her family, the government started attacking the family.

"It is not the government's job to help and protect the perpetrators of the crime but send them to jail and help the victim get justice. The Uttar Pradesh government is not doing its job and that is why I am being stopped," he said in a nearly two-minute video attached with his tweet. The video clip also shows footage of his visit to Hathras and how he was stopped.

"I want to tell the government to start doing its job of sending the criminals to jail and protect the victims. This is not the story of just one woman, this is the story of lakhs of women in India. Lakhs of women are looking up to the government, which is not doing its work," Rahul Gandhi said. "We all need to exert pressure on the government and help change the society, because what is being done to the mothers and daughters in the country is grossly unjust," he also said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said crimes against women are rising and instead of listening to the truth and the voice of the victim women, allegations are levelled against them and they are defamed. "This is the most shameful and cowardly act," she said. "But the country's women will no longer remain silent. If one sister is victimised, then lakhs of others will raise their voice and stand with them. We will now take responsibility for our own safety. Now only women will have to take the responsibility of women safety," she also said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Congress has been on the offensive over the Hathras incident. The Yogi Adityanath government is fighting severe criticism for its handling of the case, particularly after the local police burnt the woman's body at night without the family's approval. However, officials said the cremation was done "as per the wishes of the family".

The state government has said that some people were trying to foment caste tensions in the aftermath of the incident. Quoting an FSL (forensic science laboratory) report, it has denied the rape charge. The probe into the case has been taken over by the CBI.


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