Upper castes defend Hathras gang-rape accused, seek legal options

Scores of people attended a meeting held outside the house of a former BJP MLA in Hathras.

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The upper castes defended the accused in the Hathras gang-rape case. Scores of people attended a meeting held outside the house of a former BJP MLA in Hathras on Sunday.

The upper castes defended the Hathras gang-rape accused and sought for legal options on Sunday. According to reports, scores of people attended a meeting held outside the house of a former BJP MLA in Hathras. They defended the accused in the alleged Hathras gang-rape of a Dalit woman who later died. Moreover, they have also demanded registration of an FIR against the victim woman’ family members.

The administration has deployed heavy police force in the vicinity of the residence of former BJP MLA Rajvir Singh Pehalvan, located around 8-9 kilometres from the victim’s village.

However, one of the organisers of the meeting and Pehalvan’s son Manveer Singh denied that the gathering comprised members from the upper castes, and said, they were from “different sections of society”.

“We welcome the CBI inquiry ordered by the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. We have faith in the investigation,” Singh told PTI while claiming that the victim’s family members were “changing their stand”.

Singh said that the entire scenario has been created to blame the government. “The accused persons are in favour of any type of inquiry. But the victims are changing their stand every now and then. They do not want a narco test or a CBI probe. Now they want other kinds of inquiries,” he claimed.

He said that the police should register an FIR against the complainants in the case. “We demand to file a case against people who had filed the case in the first instance,” he said.

Exploring legal options

Four upper caste men in Hathras allegedly raped he 19-year-old Dalit woman on September 14. She died on September 29.

Singh said that various legal options are being explored to defend the accused in the case. He asserted that the arrest of some of the accused persons from their homes was proof of their innocence.

“Had they been guilty, they would have run away from their homes. Why would they be present in their homes?” he said. He also alleged that the Congress and the Samajwadi Party were trying to influence the victim’s family as they wanted to the issue to “linger on”.

The meeting assumes significance as it was held a day after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the victim’s house. And the UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, also recommended for a CBI probe in the case.

The local administration cremated the body of the victim in the dead of the night near her home on Wednesday. Her family alleged that the local police forced them to hurriedly conduct her last rites. Local police officers however had said the cremation was carried out “as per the wishes of the family”.

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