UP Top Cop To Visit Hathras Amid Row Over Handling Of Alleged Rape-Murder
The Director-General of Uttar Pradesh Police, HC Awasthy, will visit Hathras today amid controversy over the local administration’s handling of the alleged gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old Dalit woman, by four men from the so-called upper caste, last month. HC Awasthy, the UP DGP, will be accompanied by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi.
The visit – the first by such high-ranking officials – comes as a wave of criticism is directed at the Yogi Adityanath government over both the Hathras tragedy and similarly horrific crimes against women.
The visit also comes a day after an angry Allahabad High Court summoned top officials, although only on October 12. The court said the matter was of “immense public importance… involves allegation of high-handedness by authorities resulting in violation of basic human and fundamental rights”.
Yesterday five policemen, including the Superintendent of Police, were suspended from Hathras district as the BJP government in the state tries to quell the flood of criticism coming its way. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed his government was “committed to the safety and security of women”.
The family of the young woman from Hathras has, however, alleged multiple lapses from the police and government throughout the case. The police also triggered outrage after rushing to cremate the body at 2.30 am, after allegedly locking up the family in their homes.
They have also accused district officials of locking them up in their homes and taking away their phones. However, Hathras Joint Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena dismissed those allegations today, telling NDTV: “The allegations by a boy who spoke to some reporters on Friday are baseless. If a child can escape, it shows there were no restrictions on the family. No phones were confiscated”.
The assault has been compared to the 2012 gang rape in Delhi.
Furious protests against the police and the government have been staged across the country, including one in national capital Delhi on Friday, where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made an appearance and demanded that the four accused be executed.
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