Cops cremate Hathras gangrape victim in dead of night, family kept away

Hathras police have denied the allegations and say that ‘everything was done as per the family’s wish.’
Protestors and media in front of Safdarjung hospital
Protestors and media in front of Safdarjung hospital
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The 19-year-old Dalit woman who died a fortnight after she was brutally gangraped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, was hurriedly cremated by the police in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, even as her family alleged that they were forced to hold her last rites at night and were kept away when her pyre was lit.

Videos of the incident that have surfaced on social media show the family and neighbours asking the police for permission to see her one last time and questioning the hurry in which the funeral was being held. According to reports, only top officials from the police and media persons were at the spot when she was cremated.

“We'd told the police that we'll perform the funeral in the morning. But they were in haste and were forcing us to do it immediately. They said it has been 24 hours and the body is decomposing. We wanted to do it in the morning as more relatives would've come by then,” brother of the woman told ANI.

In the videos of the incident, journalists can be seen questioning the police officials on the hurried cremation and a top official states that post mortem happened 12 hours ago, so the body is being cremated at night. While the family is heard seeking for some time to see her, a cop is seen trying to persuade the family to hold the last rites as soon as possible, assuring that last rites are often held at night as well, and is even heard saying “some mistakes you have made, you have to accept this, and some mistakes other people have also made, they also have to accept.”

According to purported visuals from the site that surfaced on social media some of the policemen were in anti-riot gears donning body vests and helmets.

It was on September 14 that the 19-year-old woman was brutally gangraped by four dominant caste men while she was reportedly out in the village to pick some firewood. The woman incurred grievous injuries, including a fractured back. After her condition deteriorated, she was referred to Delhi's Safdarjung hospital where she breathed her last on Tuesday.

As news of her death spread, protests broke out in Delhi as well as in Hathras with all sections of society, including politicians, sports and cine stars and activists, expressing their anguish and demanding justice for her.

Amidst this, the forceful funeral by the police has now sparked further outrage.

"We are unable to understand what they want... what kind of politics is this, they are giving random statements like the woman has not been raped! We don't know what they want," said the relative who was at home with the grieving family. "They are doing all this to hush up the case."

“The cremation was held between 2.30 and 3 am," the father of the deceased woman told PTI on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Hathras police have denied the allegation of the family that the funeral was forcibly held. The Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir told PTI that all procedures were done as per the wish of the family.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a probe by a three-member Special Investigation Team to investigate the gangrape incident. The team has been asked to submit a report within seven days. He has also directed for the trial of the case in a fast-track court.

(With inputs from PTI)

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