Hathras incident: Victim's family alleges 'threats and pressure' by senior official
New Delhi/IBNS: The family of the 19-year-old girl, who died two weeks after she was brutally gangraped in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, has alleged 'threats and pressure' from a senior district official.
On visiting the victim's family on Thursday, Hathras District Magistrate (DM) Praveen Kumar Laxkar allegedly "warned" them over their statements and not to be influenced by media.
The video of the DM speaking to the family, captured on a mobile phone, has gone viral. He could be heard saying: "Do not finish your credibility. These media people... some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change."
In another video also widely circulated, a veiled woman, believed to be the victim's sister-in-law, could be heard saying: "They are putting pressure on us. They are saying that if our daughter had died of coronavirus then she would have received compensation. They are saying the case will be rafaa-dafaa (disposed of). We are getting warnings. Our father is getting warnings."
She even said: "They will not let us live here. The DM is very cunning, he is trying to trick us. They are pressuring us. They are forcing us and saying our statements are not reliable, we keep changing our statements and we have no credibility."
The DM has, however, denied all these allegations.
"I met with six family members yesterday and we spoke for about an hour and a half. I met with them again today to see their point of discontent. I deny the negative rumours about my interactions with them. Their main worry is that the accused must be hanged. I tried to reassure them and told them that the matter would be tried in a fast track court," Laxkar told media.
The Yogi Adityanath government has come under attack after the 19-year old was dragged by her dupatta, gangraped by four men, got her spinal cord damaged and her tongue cut.
Two weeks after the incident, which occurred on Sept 14, the girl succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday morning.
In an even more shocking incident in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Uttar Pradesh, the law and order of which has often come under the scanner, the dead body of the girl was cremated by police officials in the dead of night denying the family members a look at the victim for the last time.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, whose resignation has been demanded by various opposition politicians and angry people on social media, on Wednesday constituted a SIT to probe into the heinous crime and also ordered a trial against the accused in a fast-track court.
The victim, a Dalit, had named her attackers in a statement on Sept 22.
The four accused, believed to be upper caste Thakurs, have been arrested.
Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) India had directed the UP government. to provide adequate protection to the family of the deceased keeping in view the gravity of the matter and aspect of the witness protection as there is "an apparent rift between two communities and there may be danger to the family of the deceased."
Meanwhile, a senior UP police officer on Thursday claimed that the Forensic Science Laboratory had stated in its report that the girl was not raped.