“Upper caste” men reportedly from the Thakur community were seen on camera defending the four men arrested for the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman.
They were also seen shouting threats when Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad visited the victim’s family on Sunday (October 5).
Videos that were shared on social media showed the men going around dropping threats in the presence of hundreds of policemen.
“Do you not have faith in the CBI?” He (Chandrashekhar) does not trust the CBI, has come here to do politics. Just let us meet him once then we will make sure he does (trust the CBI),” a man is seen shouting in one of the videos, surrounded by policemen who watch him, according to NDTV.
“Thakurs are born to withstand blows… Come out, your big brothers are here to meet you,” the man is heard yelling, in what was apparently an attempt to draw out the Bhim Army leader. The police are seen trying to reason with him.
The “upper caste” men of the village, who held meetings of the ‘Rashtriya Savarn Parishad’, have accused the late Dalit woman and her family of falsely blaming the four men who were arrested after her statement.
They have also sought a CBI probe, which has been recommended by the Yogi Adityanath government.
One of the men accused of attacking the 20-year-old woman reportedly possesses the same name as her brother. Based on this, the men alleged that her brother had killed her and that the other man had been framed instead. “Who says she was raped?” they asked, according to NDTV.
After Azad’s visit, the Uttar Pradesh police filed a case against the Bhim Army leader and 400 others, accusing them of violating a ban on large gatherings in the area.
However, no action has been taken against the 500 or so men who gathered in support of the gang-rape accused.
On the other hand, Azad said, “Meetings are held openly to support the Hathras suspects. The victim’s family is at risk,” demanding special security for the woman’s family.
The family has alleged that they received threats and intimidation since the woman’s death last Tuesday.