UP’s shame: Hathras victim’s family wants case shifted out of Uttar Pradesh

On the victim’s forced cremation, HC asks UP top officials what they could have done had the victim came from a rich family

The entire nation erupted in outrage over the woman’s assault, her death and the way she was cremated. Photo: PTI

The Hathras victim’s family wants the case to be moved out of the state. The alleged gang rape and a brutal assault on the victim resulting in her death last month had shocked the country, triggering protests, and the CBI taking over the case.

The family’s lawyer said this was among the three demands placed before the Allahabad High Court, which heard the case on Monday (October 12).

“The family wants the case to be transferred to Delhi or Mumbai,” lawyer Seema Kushwaha told reporters. She said the family had urged the court to stop reports of the investigation being made public.

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The case will be heard again on November 2. The family told reporters later that they would not immerse the woman’s ashes until they got justice.

At the hearing, the Uttar Pradesh police and administration faced tough questions about the way they handled the case and the hasty late night cremation of the 20-year-old, who died at a Delhi hospital on September 30. The Central Bureau of Investigation has taken over the CBI, which visited the village on Sunday and returned after collecting some documents.

Related news: ‘What if it was rich girl?’ HC questions Hathras woman’s secret cremation

The family, among the few Dalits in their village, has been given protection at the village after it complained of intimidation by the upper caste Thakurs. They sought from the court more security.

The district administration has justified the woman’s cremation in the absence of her family. The police had refused to hand over the body even though her parents requested them to take her home one last time and perform her funeral the next morning.

Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxar said there was “no pressure from the state government” to carry out the cremation in that manner, implying that the local authorities took the controversial decision. He said the police had reasons to take the step for the sake of law and order, an argument that was challenged by the family.

The court questioned whether the case would have been treated differently had the woman, instead of belonging to a poor family, came from a rich family.

The high court had summoned top UP administration and police officers as well as the victim’s family, taking up the case on October 1 amid nationwide outrage over the woman’s assault, her death and the way she was cremated.

The woman’s parents and three brothers travelled to Lucknow under heavy security for the court hearing.

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