Hathras rape: Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi meet victim’s family, assure all support

On heavy police deployment, Rahul Gandhi said, “No power can stop me from meeting the family”

Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi interact with family members of the Hathras rape victim at their house in the village | Photo -Twitter

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi assured all support to the family of the Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered by upper caste men in Hathras village of Uttar Pradesh.

The duo reached the village late in the evening after a high drama was seen on UP-Delhi border in Noida around noon as Congress delegation tried to make its way to Hathras village.

They were accompanied by a posse of security personnel to the victim’s house amid a high security setup around the house.

Priyanka Gandhi was seen holding and hugging the victim’s mother and consoling family members.

According to reports, Priyanka is said to have given a slip of paper to the mother of the victim, which some TV channels claimed was a cheque with an unknown amount.

The duo is said to have assured the family of all help amid police inaction and high-handedness over the last few days.

A local Congress leader said Rahul Gandhi said that the family has been suffering atrocities one after another, and said the party would support them.

The two leaders left after a nearly hour-long meeting with the family.

Media was not allowed inside the house and were required to stand outside the gate strongly guarded by hundreds of policemen.

The meeting comes after the incident shot to limelight when police in its bid to cover up the crime, forcibly cremated the woman’s body at around 3 am on September 30 against the wishes of the family after whisking it away silently from the Delhi hospital where she breathed her last.

Earlier in the day, during the clash between police and Congress workers, Priyanka Gandhi was seen trying to pull out a party worker who was getting beaten by policemen who were standing guard to prevent movement of people at the border.

Barricades were put up at the Delhi-Noida Direct flyway (i.e. the UP-Delhi border) ahead of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s scheduled visit to the Hathras village, where a Dalit woman died after she was brutally assaulted and allegedly gang raped on September 14.

Congress workers are already at the flyway with CrPC Section 144 been imposed at Gautam Buddha Nagar to restrict gathering of people. More than 50 Congress MPs are likely to be a part of the delegation scheduled to visit Hathras today.

Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Huge crowds milling at 24 Akbar Road as over fifty MPs gathered to travel to meet the family of the Hathras case victim. It is entirely appropriate for people of conscience to seek to express their solidarity in the face of such atrocities. Let us hope the UP government behaves sensibly.”

Determined to meet the family of the Hathras victim, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra told news agency ANI: “If not this time, then we will try again.”

A couple of days back, Rahul Gandhi got into a scuffle with UP police personnel and was arrested with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra while they tried to visit the deceased woman’s relatives.

The local magistrate, on Saturday, allowed journalists to enter the village after the Uttar Pradesh administration said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had completed its investigation. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi and DGP Hitesh Chandra Awasthy too met the family of the victim.

Related news: Can we now rally for Hathras victim the same way we fought for Sushant?

The Uttar Pradesh government suspended three police officers, including Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir, for “mishandling of the murder” and hurried cremation of the victim. The government plans to conduct polygraph and narco tests on the accused, the victim’s relatives and police officers involved in the probe.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has meanwhile stepped up attack on the UP government. The CM would lead a protest march in Kolkata on Saturday against the Hathras “gangrape” and murder case. The march is scheduled to start from Birla Planetarium and conclude at the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Mayo Road in central Kolkata in the afternoon.

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