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Published On: Wed, Sep 30th, 2020

Protests erupt outside Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital after Manisha Valmiki’s death

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manishaNEW DELHI : Congress, Left and Bhim Army activists staged protests near the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan and India Gate in the national capital on Wednesday, demanding justice for a 19-year-old woman who died a fortnight after she was allegedly gang-raped in Hathras.
Delhi witnessed protests on Tuesday evening as well when the body of the woman, who died at a hospital here earlier in the day, was taken to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. She was cremated in the dead of the night with family members alleging they were forced by police to hurriedly conduct the last rites, a charge that triggered further outrage.
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.
AAP MLA Ajay Dutt on Wednesday claimed he was “kicked and slapped” by senior Delhi Police officers when he went to meet the family of the Hathras gang rape victim at the Safdarjung hospital here. Delhi Police refused to comment on the allegation.
Dutt told reporters that he was at the hospital and when he sought to know the whereabouts of the victim’s body, he was allegedly taken to a room and assaulted.
“They took me to a room by pulling my collar and there I was slapped and kicked by the SHO, ACP and DCP. If this is the treatment given to an elected representative then think about the common man,” Dutt, MLA from Delhi’s Ambedkar Nagar assembly constituency, said. He demanded action against the police officials who allegedly assaulted him.
Delhi Cabinet Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam also demanded an FIR against the local SHO, ACP, DCP and other Delhi Police officials who allegedly manhandled and assaulted Dutt for questioning the police action in the Hathras gang rape case.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a Hindi tweet that this was a ‘shameful move’ of the UP government to suppress Dalits and show them their ‘place’ in the society.
Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of the gangrape of a 20-year-old in Hathras, who died on Tuesday (September 29) after fighting for survival for two weeks.
There was outrage over the police cremating the girl’s body at 2 am even as the girl’s family was locked up. Gandhi tweeted that it was a “shameful move of the UP government to suppress the Dalits and show them their ‘place’ in the society”.

The Hathras protest has a caste angle to it starting with Chandrashekar Azad’s Bhim Army’s rally outside the Delhi hospital on Tuesday. Soon, the topic was all over the social media with users tweeting that the girl and her family have been “brutalised by the entire system”.
“All this is a shameful move of the UP government to suppress the Dalits and show them their ‘place’ in the society. Our fight is against this hateful thinking,” Rahul Gandhi said on the Hathras incident.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the people of the country are sad and angry over the gruesome incident and said the ‘Nirbhaya of Hathras’ did not die but was killed by a “cruel and insensitive” government and its administration.
In a video message, she said the country will speak up against this injustice and not allow the BJP to divide the country and violate the Constitution.
“This incident is a blot on our society. I want to ask is it a sin to be a girl? Is it a crime to be the daughter of a poor? What was the UP government doing? For weeks, the family’s cry for justice was not heard. There was an attempt to cover up the issue.
The girl was not given proper treatment. Today, our daughter has left us. I want to say that the Nirbhaya of Hathras did not die, she was killed by an insensitive government and its administration,” Gandhi said.
“Even after her death, the girl was denied dignity and not handed over to her family. A weeping mother could not see her daughter for the last time. This is a grave sin. Her body was cremated by force. There is dignity in death. Our Hindu religion is clear about it. But she was cremated like an orphan by the police,” she added.
“What kind of justice is this? What kind of a government is this? You think you can do anything and the nation will sit and watch. Never, the nation will speak against your injustice.

On behalf of the Congress party, I demand justice for the family. India belongs to everyone. Everyone has the right to live with dignity. The Constitution has given us this right. We will not allow the BJP to break the country and violate the Constitution,” the Congress president said.
Earlier in the day, her daughter and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi took on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the death of Hathras rape victim, saying he doesn’t have any moral right to continue as chief minister.
The 19-year-old woman from Hathras died in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday morning, nearly two weeks after she was allegedly gang raped and tortured by four men from her village on September 14.
The NCW on Wednesday (September 30) condemned the manner in which the Hathras gang-rape victim was cremated, saying it will seek explanation from the UP Police on it.

NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said the commission condemns that the gang-rape victim was cremated without family’s involvement.“In UP Gang-Rape Tragedy, 2.30 am Cremation By Cops, Family was Kept Out. @NCWIndia condemn it strongly. Why the family wasnt allowed in Cremation? Why at night?@Uppolice @hathraspolice,” Sharma tweeted.
In another tweet, Sharma said an explanation will be sought from the UP DGP on the matter. She said her office spoke to the brother of the victim. “The brother of the victim called and told my office that he and his father were taken to the cremation ground while the cremation was on but were not allowed to see the face,” Sharma tweeted.
The incident was also condemned by several women’s rights activists, who accused the Uttar Pradesh government of robbing the victim of her dignity even in death.
“This horror gives you the full picture of what this crime is all about,” Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, told.“The refusal of the UP government and its machinery to allow a Dalit family the right to grieve their daughter and bid her farewell in keeping with their own emotions and customs reeks of caste supremacy,” she said.

She sai. “Whethere is a lot of focus on the horrific naturen the family found her and she was taken to the police station, the police said she is trying to trap people and then she was hospitalised and not kept in the ICU for six days and then on her death the police blamed the victim’s family and they are denying this Dalit family and victim dignity even in death and mourning,” she said.
Yogita Bhayana, who heads the People Against Rape in India (PARI), said there is something very fishy about way the last rite happened. “This is very fishy and as it seems like the last nail in the coffin that they were not even allowed to perform the last rites,” she said.
In the history of cases that I have dealt with and I have known this has never happened and this makes it murkier and fishier. There is something they are trying to hide and it is so evident. This is something beyond human rights violation,” she said.

“It is the newest low. Even in the Nirbhaya case, there was nothing like this. In none of the cases this has happened. The family deserves an answer. They (the government) can only do this to a Dalit family they knew the caste would not retaliate so they did this,” she claimed.
Women’s rights activist Shamina Shafiq also mentioned the 2012 gang-rape and murder of Nirbhaya in Delhi. “The government then took it sensitively. She (Nirbhaya) was airlifted to Singapore so that her life could be saved. Then prime minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi actually went to the airport to receive her body. Her family was given respect, though law and order failed. Now look at (this case) in comparison. Even Hindu rituals do not allow cremation after the sunset. Why did it happen?” she asked.
“When this girl was gang-raped why she was not airlifted to AIIMS. These people do not care about giving respect to women. It is just sloganeering happening. It is happening because she is a Dalit girl. Just because there are no elections in Uttar Pradesh and she was a Dalit girl this happened,” she said.
Meanwhile, Congress, Left and Bhim Army activists staged protests near the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan and India Gate in the national capital on Wednesday, demanding justice for a 19-year-old woman who died a fortnight after she was allegedly gang-raped in Hathras.
(With Agency Inputs ).

 

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