'Won't Immerse Ashes': Hope for Justice Renews for Hathras Victim's Kin with Allahabad HC Hearing

Qazi Faraz Ahmad
·4-min read

The family members of the victim in alleged gang-rape and murder case in Hathras recorded their statements in front of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday. After returning from Lucknow to Hathras, the father of the victim said that the family will not be immersing the ashes of the victim until they get justice.

Speaking to the media, the father of the victim said, “We narrated our ordeal to the court. However, there was a conversation in English and we couldn’t understand much but we could make out that the Court was not happy with the Hathras district administration. We seek justice now, we will not be immersing the ashes until we get justice.”

The brother of the victim, who had also gone to Lucknow to record his statement in the court, upon his return from the national capital said, “There were questions related to the cremation of our sister, the court also asked if the cremation was done as per our wishes. The hearing lasted about an hour and most of the conversation was in English, but the court was definitely not happy with the DM.”

Meanwhile SSM Anjali Gangwar who accompanied the family from Hathras to Lucknow and back said, “All the necessary arrangements for the family members were taken care of, biscuits, chips, water bottles and other essentials were kept in all the vehicles and he family was also made to have lunch at Uttarakhand Bhawan in Lucknow. Ample security and comfort arrangements for the family members of the victim were done.”

On the other hand, Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Lakshkar also appeared before the Lucknow bench and explained that the gangrape victim was cremated at midnight to "avoid violence and maintain law and order" in the district. He further stated that there was strong evidence of the involvement of organisations like the PFI and some journalists in provoking the family of the victim.

Lakshkar said, "There was a huge gathering of anti-social elements outside the village who were bent on violence. Also, because it had been a long time since the victim’s death, the condition of the body was deteriorating. Keeping in view the above circumstances and consulting about the situation with other senior administrative and police officials, I, in the capacity of the district magistrate of Hathras, took the decision of performing the last rites of the victim in the night. The family of the victim was taken into confidence while performing the last rites under administrative supervision.”

Confirming the conspiracy theory of instigating violence in the Hathras incident, he further pleaded, “It also came to light that a website ‘Justice for Hathras’, through its instigating and inflammatory content was also trying to disturb the law and order in Hathras and adjoining areas.”

The statement further reads, “There is also strong evidence of the role of the involvement of organisations like PFI and some alleged journalists in provoking the family even after they had met the Chief Minister and all their demands were met by the government. There are also intelligence inputs of funding to the Bhim Army through PFI to disturb harmony of the state. There are also inputs about some Naxal organisations who were also plotting communal riots in the state.”

The family members of the 19-year-old Dalit woman appeared before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday, which fixed November 2 as the next date of hearing. They were heard by the Bench of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Rajan Roy.

The woman’s parents and siblings recorded their statements while the Additional Chief Secretary, DGP and ADG (Law and Order) also deposed before the court, along with the Hathras DM and SP.

The woman's father, mother and three brothers were brought to the court amid tight security from Hathras earlier in the day. The court had 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 investigation into the case.

The woman was allegedly raped by four upper caste men on September 14. She succumbed to severe assault injuries at a Delhi hospital a fortnight later, which was followed by a hushed-up cremation, allegedly forced by the Hathras district administration.

The brutal injuries suffered by the woman and the administration's move to cremate her body late at night triggered a massive outrage, resulting in a pitched political battle from Delhi to Hathras. "Shocked" by the murder and alleged gang rape of the Dalit woman and the subsequent cremation, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had on October 1 summoned top government officials.