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Hathras Gang-rape: Protests Spread to Other States, UP CM Announces Rs 25L Ex-gratia for Victim's Kin

A member of the National Students' Union of India places a candle besides placards after a candlelight vigil in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (AFP)

A member of the National Students' Union of India places a candle besides placards after a candlelight vigil in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (AFP)

The Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gang-raped, 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.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday spoke to the father of a 19-year-old woman who died two weeks after she was gang-raped in Hathras, assuring him of stringent action against all the accused, a senior official said in Lucknow. The state government has also announced financial aid of Rs 25 lakh to the family of the woman.

"The CM has spoken to the father of the deceased woman of Hathras. Her father…asked for the harshest penalty against the accused. The CM assured him that the most stringent action shall be taken against the accused and all possible help shall be provided to the family of the deceased," said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi.

The state government has also announced a government job in the capacity of a school teacher for a family member of the deceased, a house under the government scheme, and the trial in a fast-track court.

The Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gang-raped, 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 the cremation was carried out "as per the wishes of the family" and the news regarding the cremation was "incorrect".

On September 14, the woman had gone to the fields with her mother and went missing soon after. She was found later, beaten and tortured, her tongue cut as she bit it when the accused attempted to strangle her. She was first admitted to Aligarh Muslim University's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and then shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Monday.

Protests held in Delhi and UP

The Congress, Left and Bhim Army activists staged protests near the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan and India Gate in Delhi on Wednesday, demanding justice for the victim. Delhi witnessed protests on Tuesday evening as well when the body of the woman was taken to Hathras.

On Wednesday morning, Congress and Left activists gathered outside the UP Bhawan for protests separately, but were detained by the police. The police have booked the protesters, mostly students and women activists, for assembling in violation of prohibitory orders and COVID-19 guidelines, and detained some of them briefly.

The Left-affiliated All India Students' Association (AISA), which gave the call for a candlelight march at India Gate in the evening, alleged that the police forcibly removed the protesters from the spot and harassed and detained women, a charge denied by the police. Some Bhim Army activists also joined the protest near India Gate. In a call for candlelight vigil at India Gate, protesters demanding justice for the Dalit victim of gang rape in Hathras were brutally assaulted and detained by Delhi Police. The protesters were attacked, women members harassed and taken into custody," the AISA alleged.

Thirty-two men have been detained for organising an unauthorised protest on Man Singh Road near India Gate, police said. "A few female protesters who were part of the protesting group were removed from the spot. The protesters belonged to AISA and Bhim Army. Legal action under relevant sections of law is being taken," said Deepak Yadav, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi).

Mahila Congress national president Sushmita Dev, Delhi Mahila Congress president Amrita Dhawan, Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar took part in the protest. The Legal and Human Rights department of the Delhi Congress filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission, seeking justice to the family of the deceased Dalit woman.

The police said an FIR under section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act has been registered against the protesters as they violated prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in force in the area and other restrictions regarding COVID-19.

There were protests in neighbouring Ghaziabad as well. Activists of the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Akhil Bhartiya Balmiki Samaj staged protests in some areas of Ghaziabad, demanding justice for the Dalit woman.

(With inputs from PTI)


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