The family of the 19-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped and murdered by four ‘upper-caste’ men, are all set to appear before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today to record their testimony. They will soon appear before a Division Bench comprising Justices Rajan Roy and Jaspreet Singh.
On October 1, the Allahabad High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the rape, murder and forced cremation of the Dalit woman, directing the family of the deceased to appear before it to hear their story in their own words.
Thus, at about 6 A.M on Monday, the victim’s father, mother, brothers and a sister-in-law left Hathras amidst tight security. They were originally scheduled to travel on Sunday i.e., October 11, 2020 but were reluctant to travel at night citing security reasons. They will now be taken directly to the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench.
The court had appointed Shri Jaideep Narain Mathur, learned Senior Advocate and Shri Abhinav Bhattacharya, Advocate, as Amicus Curiae to assist this Court in the matter. The State Government has asked Additional Advocate General V K Sahi to represent it before the court.
The Division Bench has also summoned the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Director-General of Police, Additional Director General, law and order, District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Hathras to appear before the court. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Shalabh Mathur, who had been sent to Hathras from Lucknow as a nodal officer, told news agencies on Monday, “The family has been sent to Lucknow from Hathras at about 6 A.M amid tight security. Those coming for appearance includes the victim’s mother, father and three brothers. Accompanying them are Magistrate Anjali Gangwar and a circle officer besides policemen.”
The Division Bench had noted on October 1, 2020 that “The matter before us, of which we have taken suo motu cognisance is of immense public importance and public interest as it involves allegation of high handedness by the State Authorities resulting in violation of the basic human and fundamental rights not only of the deceased victim but also of her family members. As it is, the deceased victim was treated with extreme brutality by the perpetrators of the crime and what is alleged to have happened thereafter, if true, amounts to perpetuating the misery of the family and rubbing salt in their wounds.”
Yesterday, the CBI, who took over the investigation into the case, registered an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to gangrape and murder and relevant section of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case was earlier registered at Chandpa Police Station, in Hathras district, based on a complaint by the victim’s brother. “The complainant had alleged that on 14.09.2020, the accused tried to strangulate his sister in the millet field. The case has been registered by CBI on the request of Uttar Pradesh Government and further Notification from Government of India,” CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said in a notification.