Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on 30 September said those responsible for the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman shall not be spared.
Yogi Adityanath further said prime minister Narendra Modi had spoken to him on the incident and asked for ‘strictest’ punishment against the accused.
“Those responsible for the unfortunate incident with the girl in Hathras shall not be spared. A three-member special team has been formed to probe the case. It will submit its report in seven days.To ensure speedy justice, the case will be tried in a fast-track court,” Adityanath tweeted.
“Honourable prime minister Narendra Modi has spoken to me on the incident and directed that strictest punishment be taken against the accused,” he posted in a subsequent tweet.
The woman died in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on 29 September morning, nearly two weeks after she was sexually assaulted and tortured by four men from her village on 14 September. The case has triggered nationwide protests, with many drawing parallels with 2012’s Nirbhaya incident in New Delhi.
There was fresh controversy in the case with family members of the woman claiming that the Uttar Pradesh Police forcibly creamted her in the early hours of the day. The police and Hathras administration denied these allegations.
UP woman’s family threw themselves on ambulance to stop cremation
As the Uttar Pradesh police drove to a funeral ground to cremate the 20-year-old woman who had died after her gang-rape and torture, her family, relatives and villagers made many attempts to stop them. They begged the police to hand over the body so they could take the woman home before her funeral.
But the Hathras police were deaf to their pleas.
Heart-wrenching visuals showed women flinging themselves on the hood of the ambulance to stop the police from taking the body away. A woman, believed to be the mother, was seen sitting on the road, wailing in agony and beating her chest as the cops refused to hand over her daughter’s body.
The woman’s parents even prostrated before the car.
The woman’s father and brothers argued with the cops and even appealed to the District Magistrate to be allowed to take her body home for cremation after daybreak. They said last rites in the middle of the night were not part of their tradition.
Nothing worked as the police, after being stopped multiple times, drove straight to the cremation ground. Around 2.30 am, the body was cremated with cops forming a human chain to prevent anyone near it. The family was locked in their home, so were relatives.
The dead-of-night cremation has provoked nationwide outrage with opposition politicians accusing the UP police and government of denying the woman her rights and dignity even in death.
She had suffered multiple fractures and a gash in her tongue as the men tried to strangle her. An injury to her neck had left her paralysed and struggling to breathe without help.
Her family says the police were slow to react and initially dismissed her injuries as “drama”.
The Hathras police have denied the allegations of forced cremation. It had been carried out with the family’s consent, claimed the cops as well as the administration in tweets.