Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was detained by the Uttar Pradesh police while he was on his way to Hathras, along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to meet the kin of the 20-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered. The gangrape and killing of another Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh has sparked outrage across the country with several politicians and activists demanding justice and protesters rallying on the streets.
Rahul has alleged that he was pushed to the ground and lathi-charged when he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi were marching on the highway between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on way to Hathras.
Rahul and Priyanka proceeded on foot towards Hathras to meet the family of the victim after their convoy was stopped in Greater Noida by the UP Police. The convoy was stopped near Pari Chowk, prompting party workers and senior leaders to proceed on foot to Hathras, which is 150 km away from here.
Talking to reporters while walking on the Yamuna Expressway, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would have to take the responsibility for the alleged gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the district and strict action should be taken against the perpetrators of the crime.
“Since our cars have been stopped, we will walk down to Hathras as we want to meet the victim's family. We want to express our condolences to the family,” Priyanka said.
In Hathras, the district magistrate has imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and ordered sealing of the district borders to maintain peace.
The Congress leaders, earlier this morning, lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party after the 22-year-old died after allegedly being raped by two men in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district.
The Dalit woman succumbed to critical injuries on the same day as the teen from Hathras in the state who breathed her last in a Delhi hospital two weeks after she was gangraped. The two men accused of assaulting the woman from Balrampur have been arrested, police said amid outrage over the death of the 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras.
The Balrampur victim’s mother Wednesday night told reporters that the rapists broke her daughter’s legs and back, a charge denied by the police.
“My daughter had gone to take admission in a college on Tuesday. On her way back, three-four persons abducted her, took her to their room, gave her an injection and raped her. They later sent her back on an e-rickshaw, which dumped her outside our house. They broke her legs and back. She could not stand or talk,” the woman said.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women on Thursday sought an explanation from the Uttar Pradesh Police on the urgency to cremate the body of the Hathras gangrape victim in the middle of the night in the absence of her family members.
The Dalit woman was allegedly raped at a village in Hathras by four men on September 14, and she breathed her last on Tuesday at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.
Her body was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging that the local police forced them to conduct the last rites in the dead of the night.
The 'jungle raj' that has spread in Uttar Pradesh has no limits and the time for accountability is now, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, adding that a gruesome incident like Hathras had taken place in Balrampur too. Rahul Gandhi was severe in his attack on the central government.
Alleging that 'atrocities' on women and the government's brazenness is continuing, Rahul said, “Did not give respect when alive and also snatched the dignity in death.” His tweet in Hindi referenced the Hathras gangrape victim's family being allegedly denied the right to properly perform her last rites.
“BJP's slogan is not 'save girl child', it is 'hide facts, save power,” he added, using the hashtag 'Balrampurhorror'. Gandhi was referring to the Centre's scheme 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress general secretary in-charge of UP, said a gruesome incident like Hathras has taken place in Balrampur too.
The woman was raped and her legs and back broken, she said. “In Azamgarh, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, girls were brutalised,” the Congress general secretary said in a tweet in Hindi.
“The jungle raj spread in UP has no limits. Law and order is not run by marketing and speeches. This is time for accountability of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. The public wants accountability,” Priyanka Gandhi added.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who is accompanying the two senior leaders, also lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath government over the Balrampur incident.
“Is it a government of the Constitution or of criminals,” Surjewala said and asked why the UP CM doesn't resign.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav also trained his guns on the BJP government after the district administration ordered to seal the borders of Hathras district.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that Hathras-like incidents will not be tolerated in the state and those indulging in crime against women would be dealt with severely.
“When incidents like the one happened in UP occur, we usually discuss it for a while and then forget. But in Maharashtra, such incidents will not be allowed to happen,” he said.