New Delhi: The Congress Wednesday slammed the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over the Hathras gang-rape victim’s family being allegedly denied the right to properly perform her last rites, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi ask for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation.
“The way she was cremated is a gross violation of her human rights, a Congress spokesperson said in Delhi.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging the local police forced them to conduct the last rites in the dead of the night.
Local police, however, told PTI the cremation was carried out “as per the wishes of the family”.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, said, “A daughter of India is raped-murdered, facts are suppressed and in the end, the right to perform the last rites is also taken away from the victim’s family.”
“It is insulting and unjust,” he said in the tweet in Hindi using the hashtag ‘Hathras Horror Shocks India’.
In his tweet, Gandhi tagged a video purportedly of the cremation site showing a police officer not answering queries on whether the body of the victim was being cremated there.
Tagging a report on the cremation in another tweet in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi alleged “this is a shameful move of the UP government to suppress Dalits and show them their ‘place’ in the society.”
The Congress’ fight is against this “disgusting” thinking, he said.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said, “I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair.”
“He had just been telling me that all he wanted was justice for his child. Last night the victim’s father was robbed of the chance to take his daughter home for the last time and perform her last rites,” she said in a series of tweets.
Tagging Adityanath, she tweeted, “RESIGN. Instead of protecting the victim and her family, your government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. You have no moral right to continue as chief minister.”
In another tweet in Hindi, she alleged that at 2:30 am Wednesday the “victim’s kin kept requesting”, but the UP administration “forcibly” cremated the deceased.
“The government did not protect her when she was alive. The government did not provide her timely treatment when she was attacked. After her death, the government took away the right of the family to perform the last rites of their daughter and did not respect the deceased,” she said.
She was relentless in her attack on the chief minister. “Gross inhumanity. You did not stop the crime but behaved like criminals. You did not stop the atrocities, but committed atrocity on an innocent child and her family twice.”
At a press briefing, Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev said there must be an inquiry into the whole incident, but the subject matter of the inquiry must go beyond the activities of the rapists.
There should be an inquiry into the “gross and criminal negligence” of the UP chief minister, who is also the home minister of the state, in the matter, Dev said.
“The way she was cremated is a gross violation of her human rights. The way she was left in a normal ward for more than six days is a gross violation of her human rights. For eight days, there is no FIR and when there is an FIR, look at the sections this hopeless and ruthless government gives, no sections of rape,” she alleged.
“The way the cremation was carried out at 2:30 AM in an unjust manner, to give justice, the only answer is that the prime minister should ask for UP CM’s resignation. If the PM does not do so, then there will be no justice to her,” Dev said.
On a Special Investigation Team formed by the UP government to probe the matter, Dev wondered if the SIT has the power to call the CM.
“The chief minister should answer before the SIT as to why was she kept in a district hospital and then in Agra and she was sent only to Safdarjung when she was near her end? Who will take responsibility for this? The UP CM should take responsibility for this,” she said.
Dev also attacked BJP MP Smriti Irani for not speaking out on the issue and said she would go down in history as the “worst women and child development minister”.
Irani should resign as an MP of Lok Sabha given the state of crime and women security in UP, Dev said.
“Don’t you tell us we are politicising this. The same PM who told us ‘Nirbhaya ko yaad rakhna’ is silent. Ajay Bisht (Yogi Adityanath) will have to resign. We will take to the streets till he leaves his post and we will not let this government sleep,” she said.
Congress leader Udit Raj alleged atrocities against Dalits go up under BJP governments. “There education and development is also affected.
Earlier, Congress‘ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also hit out at the state government and asked why the victim’s family was denied the right to properly perform her last rites and why was the body cremated at 2:30 am.
He alleged that all limits of atrocities and brutality had been crossed and demanded Adityanath’s resignation.
On September 14, the young woman had gone to the fields with her mother and went missing soon after. She was found later, beaten and tortured, her tongue cut.
She was first admitted to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and shifted to Safdarjung Hospital Monday. (PTI)