“What if she was a rich girl”: Court questions police misconduct in Hathras Case

High Court questions the police misconduct in the Hathras case. SC to hear pleas from journalist arrested with regards to the case, and CBI violation of SC order causes outrage.

Monday: Family members of the victim in the Hathras case appeared in front of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. The late victim was a 19 year old Dalit girl, who died after four savarna men raped her. The court chided the UP police for their conduct, particularly cremating her body, against the family’s wishes, in the middle of the night.

Justices Pankaj Mithal and Rajan Roy the next date of the hearing as November 2nd.

Meanwhile, the victims family beseeched the court to transfer the case since they did not trust UP authorities, and requested security till the end of the trial.

Who was summoned?

The girl’s father, mother and her three brothers were brought to the court with tight security yesterday morning.

Besides the family, the court also summoned the Additional Chief Secretary, Home; the Director-General of Police; ADG, Law and Order; and the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Hathras to furnish the status report of the investigation into the case. On Monday, parties appeared before the court and recorded their statements.

Family: We don’t trust the UP authorities

The family’s representative in court, Advocate Seema Kushwaha said that the family wanted the case to be transferred out of Uttar Pradesh. The security of the family is a major concern as they have been receiving threats from various groups. Kushwaha urged the court to provide them with security until the end of the trial and appeals. She also stated that information regarding the information should be kept secret for the family’s privacy.

They also did not trust UP local authorities because of their misconduct in the investigation. They informed the court that the victim was cremated against their wishes and they were barred from attending her last rites.

Read More: Decoding the Politics of “Order”: Hathras Gangrape and Caste-Crimes in Uttar Pradesh

Hathras DM Praveen Kumar Laxkar claimed that the cremation was done to control law and order situation. But the family interjected: there was already heavy police presence, so there was no question of compromising law and order.

Seema Kushwaha, said that the police robbed the victim’s family of basic human rights, guaranteed to everyone, regardless of their caste or status. She said that the police “burnt her with kerosene, robbing her of basic human rights,”

hathras police burn body
Police burnt the body against the wishes of the family, and barred them from coming to the cremation

The court also critiqued the police’s actions according to the counsel. Kushwaha told the media

“ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar was asked ‘if you had a daughter, would you allow the funeral to take place without seeing her body? ADG Law and Order was speechless.”

Additional Advocate General VK Shahi, who represented the state authorities in the court only stated that the next date of hearing has been fixed for November 2.

CBI Violates Supreme Court Orders

In violation of a Supreme Court order that FIRs in cases of rape and sexual assault should not be made public, the CBI, which is now investigating the Hathras case, briefly uploaded the FIR to its website. It was only hours later that they removed the document.

Reacting to this, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday slammed Yogi Adityanath. He stated that Yogi’s eagerness to transfer the case to the investigating agency was “obvious”. Left parties have been demanding a court monitored probe and opposed transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), PTI reported.

Supreme Court Hearing

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also fixed a hearing on the matter for October 15. Earlier, the SC had listed out a number of questions to the UP Government regarding security measures, whether the family had an advocate and status of the HC trial. The UP Government had not yet submitted its reply.

Journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested on sedition charges on 10th | TOI

In a related matter, the SC stated on Monday that it would hear the plea filed by a journalists’ organisation against the arrest of Sidhique Kappan. The UP Police in Mathura had arrested him while he was on way to Hathras. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal informed SC that no court in the state would listen to him as UAPA was filed against him. The SC has said the hearing will be in four weeks.

Related: Yet another institutional murder at the altar of caste

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