Launching a fierce attack on the BJP government ruling Uttar Pradesh, the Congress and other opposition parties on Wednesday took up the Hathras rape case of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, calling on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to resign and decrying his government’s inaction on the matter.
“We're ashamed to say Women & Child Development Minister [Smriti Irani] is from UP & she's silent. She is a drama queen. She has proven she has no conviction, zero integrity, she's the worst, most shameless Woman & Child Development Minister in history of India,” All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev said.
The statement comes a day after the victim died at a government hospital in Delhi. The girl had been gang-raped and tortured by four men from her village, on September 14. She suffered multiple broken bones and was paralysed, her tongue reportedly bitten off when the men tried to strangle her.
Her family said that her body was forcibly cremated by police personnel in the dead of the night while they were barricaded inside their home, with her brother telling PTI, "Police have forcibly taken the body and my father along with them for cremation. When my father reached Hathras (from New Delhi), he was immediately taken (to the crematorium) by the police."
Highlighting this, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted saying she was on the phone with the girl’s father when she died, and accused the Yogi government of being “complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death.” You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister,” she tweeted. She issued a video statement asking where the order to cremate the body came from—questioning Adityanath’s role in the matter.
मैं यूपी के मुख्यमंत्री जी से कुछ सवाल पूछना चाहती हूँ-— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) September 30, 2020
परिजनों से जबरदस्ती छीन कर पीड़िता के शव को जलवा देने का आदेश किसने दिया?
पिछले 14 दिन से कहां सोए हुए थे आप? क्यों हरकत में नहीं आए?
और कब तक चलेगा ये सब? कैसे मुख्यमंत्री हैं आप? pic.twitter.com/Q2qPcDXDTT
Irani has yet to comment on the rape, although she has retweeted statements from CM Adityanath on the matter.
Highlighting NCRB data, the Congress released a video calling for CM Adityanath to resign, pointing out that a woman is raped every two minutes in Uttar Pradesh.
“There is no space for women, children, scheduled castes, journalists, peace or unity left in UP. The BJP is destroying the state like they intend to destroy the nation. #YogiResignNOW” the INC handle tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke with the CM and called for strict action in the case. An SIT had been constituted to probe the case, with Secretary for Home Bhagwan Swarup to lead it and the DIG, Chandraprakash and commandant PAC Agra, Poonma to be its members. The SIT must file its report within seven days.
CM Adityanath also spoke to the victim’s kin and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh to the family, along with a government job, a house under a government scheme, and a trial in a fast-track court, NDTV reported.
The CPI(M) issued a strong statement condemning the UP government over the incident, calling for a probe into the police they alleged refused to file an FIR for five days following the rape.
“The victim was grievously injured in the barbaric rape crime committed by four upper caste men on September 14, her tongue was cut out, she was bleeding profusely but the police refused to file an FIR for five days, denied the victim the immediate medical treatment which could have saved her and in the ultimate act of caste cruelty, the police cremated her body, denying the family the right to give their daughter a dignified funeral,” the CPI(M) said in a statement.
The National Human Rights Commission has also issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and DGP of the government of Uttar Pradesh over the incident.
NHRC issued notice to the Chief Secretary and DGP of Government of Uttar Pradesh over reported gang rape and brutality of 19 year old women belonging to Scheduled Caste in Hathras district, UP. For details, please see press release at, https://t.co/TkmDgQZK6e— NHRC India (@India_NHRC) September 30, 2020