“Media Will Go, We’ll Remain”: Hathras Family Says Threatened By Officials
The family of the woman, who died days after being gang raped and tortured in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, has alleged “threats and pressure” from a senior district official who visited them on Thursday. A video of the Hathras District Magistrate (DM) speaking to the family has been widely shared since it emerged online.
“Do not finish your credibility. These media people… some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change,” District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar is heard saying in the video filmed on a mobile phone.
The 20-year-old woman died on Tuesday after fighting for her life for two weeks. She had suffered severe injuries after being assaulted by four upper caste men from her village in Hathras on September 14.
She had multiple fractures, a spinal injury and a deep cut in her tongue.
On Tuesday night, the Uttar Pradesh police took away her body and cremated it at 2.30 am, against her family’s wishes and in their absence. The woman’s parents, who had begged to be allowed to take her body home for the last time and perform her funeral the following morning, accused the UP police of forcing the cremation in a desperate cover-up attempt.
The young woman, a Dalit, named her attackers in a statement on September 22. Four men, believed to be upper caste Thakurs, have been arrested.
But the woman’s family accuses the police of lapses throughout; they allege that the police at first refused to act and called the woman’s injuries “drama”. Over the past few days, they have accused the police and district officials of warning them more than once.
A senior UP police officer on Thursday claimed that the Forensic Science Laboratory had said in its report the woman was not raped.
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