Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Laxkar was caught on camera issuing a veiled "threat" to the rape victim's father as he asked him to comply with the government. The video was shared by Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala on Thursday evening.
The family of the victim, who succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi hospital after she was allegedly gang-raped in Hathras, also alleged they were being pressured by the district administration against repeatedly changing their statement. The father of the woman said he was being pressured by government officials and demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
"Half of the media people have left today, the other half will leave by tomorrow. Only we will stand with you. It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not," Laxkar could be heard saying.
Sharing the video, Surjewala said, "Listen to what the DM of Hathras told the girl's father. 'The media is here today, they will leave tomorrow. They will all go away. Listen to the government.' Shame. Is this a threat or not?"
However, Laxkar later on Thursday quashed reports surrounding his interaction with the family, according to news agency ANI.
"I met with six family members of the victim yesterday and we spoke for about an hour and a half. I met with them again today to see their point of discontent. I deny the negative rumours which are rife about my interactions with them," he said.
"Their main point of apprehension is that the convicted must be punished and be hanged to death. I tried to allay their fears and told them that the matter would be tried in a fast track court," he added.
The father, around 50 years old, claimed he was pressured into going to a police station where the district magistrate and police officials made three members of his family sign some document. "But we are not satisfied with this. My daughter's case should be probed by the CBI and monitored by a Supreme Court judge. We are under pressure from officials and confined to our home while the media has also been disallowed from meeting us," he said in a purported video shared by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Twitter.
The 20-year-old Dalit woman was raped in a village in UP's Hathras by four men on September 14. The woman had died two weeks after she was attacked brutally while helping her mother in the fields. She had suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and a gash in her tongue in the horrific assault.
She was admitted to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and shifted to Safdarjung Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday. The woman was cremated in Hathras during 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.
All four attackers, upper-caste men from the woman's village, are in jail. They will now also be charged with murder. The UP police is under scrutiny over alleged lapses throughout the case, and the inexplicable rush in cremation has further added to anger and confusion in the village.