Fifteen days after she was brutalised, a 19-year-old girl from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh succumbed to injuries at Safdarjung Hospital in the Capital on Tuesday. As protests broke out, police further complicated matters by cremating the body in the dead of the night after allegedly confining the family in their home.
On September 14, the girl was allegedly gangraped and tortured by four men in her village. Her family has accused police of trying to shield the culprits and cover up the case since the beginning. On the ill-fated day, the victim went to cut grass in the fields along with her mother and brother. But while the latter returned home, the girl was nowhere to be seen.
Worried, the mother went to the fields in search of her daughter. To her horror, she found the young girl lying blood-soaked and her tongue was cut off. The mother said she covered her daughter with her scarf and the same blood-soaked cloth.
The family says after this, they went to the police station to lodge a complaint. The victim was first taken to a nearby hospital, from where she was sent to Aligarh. On September 28, as the girl’s condition worsened, she was taken to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
Police recorded the victim’s statement thrice. Surprisingly, in the initial stage, they registered a case under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty). But faced with protests, police went by the victim’s statement and added relevant sections related to gang rape, the family says.
The family also alleged that police did not go to the spot for preliminary investigation.
Following the Justice Verma Committee report after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, the law was modified to state that a victim can go to any police station in India to file her complaint and police will have to register a case immediately.
However, in this case, police initially registered only an attempt to murder case. Surprisingly, they did not even inspect the crime scene despite a deterioration in the girl’s condition.
Family members say in the beginning, police did not take the matter seriously and not a single arrest was made for 10 days. But police say only one name was revealed in the earlier statement, and when the names of the four accused were revealed later, a case was immediately filed against them and they were sent to jail.
According to police, the girl gave her second statement on September 22 at AMU medical college in which she accused one Sandeep of molesting her. Cops registered a case under sections 354 (molestation) and 307 (attempt to murder) against him.
Police said the third statement was given on September 27 in which she named three more men and accused the four of gang rape, following which police added Section 376. On September 30, police further added relevant sections of murder in the FIR after the victim died. All the four accused are under arrest.
Police have also rejected allegations that the victim’s tongue was chopped off. They are now waiting for the post mortem report.
Hathras Police even tweeted, “False news is being spread through social media that in the unfortunate incident at Chandpa, the deceased had her tongue cut off, eyes gouged out and spinal cord smashed. Hathras Police refute this as untrue and misleading.”
— HATHRAS POLICE (@hathraspolice) September 29, 2020
The Hathras administration says they made efforts to send the victim to a Delhi hospital for treatment, but family members were against it. According to police, the report of AMU medical college did not find any sexual assault, nor was the tongue cut off. There were four injuries in the body and the spinal cord was broken.