'Upper caste' Hindus hold meeting in support of Hathras rape accused
Members of the “upper caste” in Hathras are currently holding a meeting on Sunday (October 4) in support of the men arrested for the gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old Dalit woman, which has stirred nationwide protests.
BJP Leader Rajveer Singh Pehelwan, whose residence the meeting will be held at, said he was involved “in a personal capacity”. Sources told NDTV that the family of one of the four accused is also present at the meeting.
Joint Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena told NDTV that he was not aware of the ongoing meeting. “There is no pressure on the victim’s family. Political leaders can meet the family in groups of five,” NDTV quoted him as saying.
“We have informed the police about the meet. A First Information Report should be filed against the family of the woman (victim). The accused have been falsely targeted,” one of the organisers of the meeting said, according to NDTV.
The meeting comes after the incident shot to limelight when the police, in their 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.
The Yogi Adityanath government has been severely criticised over the police handling of the case, with the 2 am cremation of the woman’s body while her family was locked up at their house.
The woman had died at a Delhi hospital on September 29.
People from the “upper caste” community also gathered to hold protests on Friday near the village where the woman had lived.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi met the victim’s family on Saturday (October 3) and assured all support to the family of the Dalit woman.
The duo went to the village after the police had already attempted earlier to block the Congress delegation from visiting Hathras.