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Published On: Sat, Oct 3rd, 2020

Hathras Gang Rape: Rahul, Priyanka meet victim’s family

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Rahul-Priyanka-meet-Hathras-familyjpegNEW DELHI/HATHRAS: Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on saturday evening met the family of the Hathras victim, declaring they will fight for justice to the Dalit woman.
Tthe 20-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang raped and murdered last month in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras and whose body was then cremated in a secretive ceremony at 2.30 am – in a savage crime that has shocked the nation.
“We will fight against injustice, and fight till justice is done,” Priyanka Gandhi told reporters after the meeting that lasted about 45 minutes.
Mr. Gandhi said no power can stifle the voice of the family. Earlier in the day, the State government allowed Mr. Gandhi and Ms. Vadra to visit the village. This came after police officials tried to convince them that Section 144 was in place and that their visit would be a violation of the Epidemic Act.

Love Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law & Order), Gautam Buddh Nagar, told reporters that a large number of workers turned up on DND flyway leading to a traffic jam.
“When the Congress leaders persisted with their demand, they were allowed to go to Hathras in a group of five persons,” he said. Senior Congress leaders K.C. Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and P.L. Punia have accompanied Mr Gandhi and Ms Vadra.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi trying to shield party workers from police action at a Noida checkpoint on October 3, 2020. U.P. Police launched a mild lathi charge on the Congress workers who came to meet and join the leaders at the DND flyover. Former MP Kamal Kishore and Delhi Congress president Anil Choudhary faced blows.

Priyanka  came out of the car and held the lathi of a policeman. She could be heard asking not to hit the party workers. She also explained the situation to the party workers and asked them to return, before moving on.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Mr Gandhi said the same thing two days back. “He offered to go alone but was stopped,” he told reporters. He described the lathi charge as the “dictatorial” attitude of the state government.

At a press conference in Hathras, Mr. Avanish Awasthi, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), said that public representatives would be allowed to visit the Hathras victim’s village provided they come in a group of five persons.

UP DGP Hitendra Chandra Awasthi and Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi interact with the family members of the victim in Hathras on October 3, 2020. UP DGP  Awasthi and Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi interact with the family members of the victim in Hathras on saturday.

Officials met the family members of the victim on Saturday. “The three-member committee is looking into all the allegations of the family members. On the basis of its first report, action has been taken against four police officials,” he said.
After meeting the family members, Mr. Avanish Awasthi said, “Family was assured of strict action against the accused. The SIT will consider all aspects raised by the family. Security arrangements will continue in the village.
Earlier, Mr. Gandhi tweeted that he would make another attempt to travel to Hathras and speak to the family of the 19-year-old girl who was brutally assaulted and murdered. The victim was cremated without the family’s consent at around 2.30 a.m. on September 30.
In a tweet in Hindi, Mr. Gandhi said that no force on earth could stop him from going to Hathras, meet the unhappy family and share their pain.. This is the second time Mr. Gandhi is attempting to visit Hathras. On October 1, he and his party members were arrested on the Yamuna Expressway and briefly detained at a guesthouse at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
“No force can silence us,” Mr Gandhi told the media after the meeting, vowing to keep up their pressure on the government till the family gets justice. “Wherever something wrong happens, we will be there to ensure justice is served. No one can stop us,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
A similarly dramatic face-off seemed in store today as Mr Gandhi set off from Delhi at around 2.30 pm in a silver Toyota Innova that Priyanka Gandhi was driving. Their convoy consisted of around 30 Congress MPs, including Shashi Tharoor. Hathras is around 200 km from Delhi.

“Nothing in the world can stop me from going to Hathras to meet this unhappy family to share their pain,” he said before leaving, while she told news agency ANI: “If not this time, then we will try again”.
A massive force of around 200 cops – some in riot gear and wielding lathis – was deployed at the toll plaza along the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) Flyover with definite instructions – do not allow Congress leaders to cross the border.

 

In a slightly anti-climactic moment, however, a UP government that has been severely criticised for its handling of this tragic case – including its treatment of the young woman’s traumatised family, whom they allegedly locked up in their homes – seemed to give in to the pressure and allowed Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and two others – KC Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – to cross.

The ruling BJP, which is under pressure over its apparent inability to prevent horrific crimes against women – at least two more assaults and rapes have been reported from the state since then – had earlier dismissed the Congress’s protests as a “political stunt”.
The Allahabad High Court has taken notice of the case and has summoned top officials of the government and police to appear before it on October 12. In its notice, the court said the matter was of “immense public importance… involves allegation of high-handedness by state authorities, resulting in violation of basic human and fundamental rights”.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs).

 

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