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Hathras Gang-rape Victim Was Killed by a Ruthless, Indifferent Govt and Its Ignorance: Sonia Gandhi

A file photo of Sonia Gandhi.

A file photo of Sonia Gandhi.

The 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the Yogi Adityanath dispensation in Uttar Pradesh over the Hathras gang-rape incident, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi said in a video message on Wednesday that the victim was "killed by a ruthless government", its administration and its ignorance.

The 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday. Her family alleged the local police forced them to conduct the last rites in the dead of the night. However, local police officers claimed they had the family's consent to conduct her last rites.

In a video statement posted to the Congress party's official Twitter handle, Gandhi sought justice for the victim. "Is it a crime to be a daughter of a poor family?" she asked, alleging that the issue was sought to be hushed up while referring to the victim as "Hathras' Nirbhaya".

"I want to say that Hathras' Nirbhaya did not die. She was killed by an oppressive government, by its administration, by the indifference of the Uttar Pradesh government," said Gandhi in a strongly-worded statement.

She alleged that while the victim did not get justice while she was alive, she was not allowed to be handed over to her family even when she was dead. Gandhi, in an emotional statement, claimed the "crying mother" was robbed of her chance to bid a "final goodbye". The Congress chief called it an "utter sin".

"The girl's body was cremated forcefully. A person has dignity even after death. Our Hindu faith speaks of it. But that child was cremated like an orphan by the force of the police. What kind of justice is this? What kind of government is this? You think you will do anything and the nation will just watch? Absolutely not. The country will speak up against your injustice," said Gandhi, adding that she on behalf of the Congress party stands with the bereaved family with their demand for justice.

The 19-year-old Dalit victim, who was gangraped and left paralysed by four upper caste men, died a fortnight after the attack in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday.

Former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier termed the gang-rape and murder the "class-specific jungle raj" of UP and had condemned the manner in which the woman cremated. “A daughter of India is raped, facts are suppressed, and in the end the right to funeral is also taken away from her family. It is abusive and unjust,” he had said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra termed the cremation by police and district administration against the wishes of the family as inhuman. “The government did not protect her while she was alive. The government did not provide timely treatment when she was attacked. After the death of the victim, the government took the last rites of the daughter from the family. Gross inhumanity,” she said.

Priyanka Gandhi had also demanded the resignation of UP chief minister Adityanath, saying that instead of protecting the victim and her family, his government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. "You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister," she tweeted.

(With inputs from agencies)


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