New Delhi, October 2
Civil society activists, students, women and members of various political outfits, including Aam Aadmi Party and Left leaders, gathered at the Jantar Mantar here on Friday to demand justice for the Hathras gangrape and murder victim.
The protest was initially supposed to be held at the India Gate but was later shifted to the Jantar Mantar owing to the prohibitory orders in place in Rajpath area.
The protest site has been barricaded by the police to restrict the movement of protesters, an official said.
Besides ground force, senior police officers and paramilitary personnel have been deployed manage the crowd.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhusan, actor Swara Bhasker, CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury, and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj are among those who gathered at the Jantar Mantar, demanding the justice for the Hathras victim.
“What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is goondaraj. The police have surrounded the village, are not allowing opposition leaders and mediapersons to enter it. They have taken away the mobile phones of the family members of the victim,” activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.
He also condemned the way the victim was cremated “against the wishes of her family”.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, politburo member Brinda Karat and CPI general secretary D Raja were among the leaders present at the site. They questioned the silence of the central government over the issue.
“The silence of the central government and the top leadership of the BJP on such a heinous crime and the UP government’s response thereafter speaks volumes about the authoritarian and anti-democratic ‘chehra’, ‘chaal’, ‘charitra’, and ‘chintan’ of the ruling party,” Yechury said.
“The Uttar Pradesh government has no right to stay in power. Our demand is that justice should be served,” he said.
Karat said the lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh is “a caste code in operation, not the Constitution of India”.
“We fought for the primacy of rape victim’s statement in law, but now, they have brought a false report to save the criminals, saying there was no rape. I want to ask Modiji. Is this your culture? Your UP government has put the family under house arrest. You are punishing them and not the government responsible for her death,” she said.
“Is it your culture not to allow people to console the grieving family? Shame on you Modiji. Your government denied her proper medical attention, your government did not allow her family to give her a dignified funeral, and now, you are denying them solace. The UP chief minister should be sacked,” Karat added.
The body of the 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, a fortnight after she was gang-raped, was cremated in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, 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.
Local police officers, however, had said the cremation was carried out “as per the wishes of the family”. PTI