08 Oct 2020: Her own family has killed her, claims Hathras case accused
Amid an outpouring of grief and anger in connection to the gut-wrenching episode in Hathras, the main accused has written a letter to local police, claiming innocence and blaming the family for allegedly killing the 19-year-old Dalit woman.
Sandeep Thakur, who is lodged in an Aligarh jail, said the victim's family was opposed to their friendship and tortured her, possibly leading to her demise.
Arrest: Accused of rape and assault, four men are in jail
Sandeep and three of his accomplices — Ramu, Lavkush, and Ravi — have been arrested under relevant IPC sections for rape and atrocities under the SC/ST Act.
The deceased, in her second statement to police, said the men, hailing from upper-caste, raped her on September 14, while she was out for farm-related work.
She passed away last Tuesday, succumbing to her serious spine injuries.
Criticism: For not keeping women safe, Adityanath's government received flak
The rape case, the unholy late-night cremation of the victim, and the restrictions levied on media as well as politicians, seeking to speak to the bereaved family of Bulgaddhi village, earned criticism for the Yogi Adityanath government.
In sharp remarks this week, the Supreme Court said the victim went through horror and that the state government must provide details about witnesses' protection.
Letter: Met victim on day of incident, said accused in letter
Now, adding a twist to the case, Sandeep shot a letter to Hathras Police, confirming his presence in the field on the day of the alleged rape.
"I had gone to meet her in the fields that day where her mother and brothers were also present. I returned home after being asked by her to do so. I then started feeding cattle," he said.
Claims: Sandeep claimed he and other accused were being framed
In the letter, that carried the thumb impressions of other accused, Sandeep added that villagers informed him about the victim being tortured by her mother and brother.
"I have never beaten her or done anything wrong with her. Her mother and brothers falsely accused me and three others and sent us to jail. We are all innocent," he said, demanding a fair probe.
Calls: Meanwhile, calls between victim's kin and Sandeep emerged during probe
Notably, the probe has hinted that the victim's brother and Sandeep were in touch through the phone.
Over 100 calls were made between Sandeep's phone and the number registered under the name of the victim's brother.
In total, between October 2019 and March 2020, over five hours of conversation took place between them. Now, the investigators are planning to grill the victim's brother.
Reaction: Allegations are false, we only want justice: Victim's father
However, denying the serious allegations, the victim's father said all he wants is justice.
"I have lost my daughter. Now they are trying to malign us. We are not afraid. The allegations are totally false," he was quoted by NDTV. He also said the family doesn't want monetary compensation.
Commenting on the new turn, Congress' Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the victim doesn't deserve slander.
Fact: Vadra was upset the deceased was blamed for heinous crime
"Creating a narrative that defames a woman's character and holding her somehow responsible for crimes committed against her is revolting and regressive. A heinous crime has been committed at Hathras, leaving a 20-year-old Dalit woman dead. SHE DESERVES JUSTICE NOT SLANDER (sic)," tweeted Vadra.
Fact: Her body was burnt, wrote Vadra