NEWS
04/10/2020 3:45 PM IST | Updated 04/10/2020 5:50 PM IST

Bhim Army Chief Says Hathras Family Isn't Safe, BJP Leader Hosts Meeting Of Upper Caste Men Supporting Accused

BJP leader and former MLA Rajveer Singh Pahalwan held a mahapanchayat of upper caste men at his residence in Hathras.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Chandrashekhar Azad, Chief of Bhim Army, lights a candle during a protest against the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman in Hathras who died, at Safdarjung Hospital on September 29, 2020 in New Delhi.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Sunday walked to meet the Hathras family after being stopped near Aligarh on his way to meet them, NDTV reported. 

Following the meeting, Azad told reporters outside their house that the family was not safe.

“I demand ‘Y security’ for the family or I’ll take them to my house, they aren’t safe here. We want an inquiry to be done under the supervision of a retired Supreme Court judge,” he said, ANI quoted.

The Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had on Saturday recommended a probe into the case by CBI.

The family has said that they do not want a CBI probe into the case but a judicial inquiry instead into death and forced cremation of their 19-year-old daughter who was allegedly gang-raped by four Thakur men.

Members of the family have also spoken to media and politicians who visited them about facing harassment and intimidation at the hands of the UP police and local authorities. 

On Sunday, Khabar Lahariya reported that the family had been surrounded by reporters all day and had not been able to eat.

Meanwhile, BJP leader and former MLA Rajveer Singh Pahalwan held a mahapanchayat of upper caste men at his residence in Hathras on Sunday morning at which 500 people, including family of the accused gathered, NDTV and Hindustan Times reported.

At the meeting, Pahalwan reportedly claimed “no rape happened” and that the four accused Thakur men who had been arrested in the case were not guilty and had been falsely accused. 

The Quint’s Asmita Nandy reported that among those raising slogans in favour of the Thakurs accused in the Hathras case were “members of RSS, Bajrang Dal, Karni Sena who are also part of several ‘Savarna Sangathans’”.

On Friday, Azad had said there was no hope for justice for woman who died till Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath resigned and the Supreme Court took cognisance of the issue.

Azad was at the protest site in Jantar Mantar to demand justice for the Dalit woman.

“These kind of culprits should be punished as soon as possible so that others get scared before committing such crimes,” he said, addressing the protesters.

“We will go to Hathras and till the time the matter doesn’t come to Delhi, there is no chance of getting justice,” Azad added.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who met the family of the Dalit woman along with Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, demanded removal of the district magistrate and an investigation into his role in the entire matter on Sunday.

Priyanka Gandhi said that according to the family, the district magistrate meted out the worst treatment to them, and asked who was protecting the officer.

In a tweet in Hindi, the Congress leader said, “According to the aggrieved family, the worst treatment meted out to them was by the district magistrate. Who is trying to save him? He should be immediately suspended, and his role in the entire matter should be probed. When the family is demanding a judicial probe, then why is noise over CBI probe and SIT probe is going on.”

“If the UP government has even slightly woken up from its slumber, it should listen to the point of view of the family,” she said in another tweet.

More protests, more political leaders meet Hathras family

The Samajwadi Party on Sunday said its delegation was stopped from visiting Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit woman.

The party said the delegation was stopped at a toll plaza near Agra by police at the behest of the government.

“This forcible stoppage is a murder of democracy.... Samajwadi(s) will stand with the aggrieved family in their fight for justice,” the party tweeted in Hindi.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav had on Saturday set up an 11-member fact-finding team headed by the party’s state unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel to visit the woman’s village on Sunday and meet her family members.

Meanwhile, RLD’s leader Jayant Chaudhary met the family.

DMK MP Kanimozhi slammed the UP government saying it was trying to hide what happened in Hathras. “The funeral by police and attack on journalists is strongly condemnable. Moreover, the political leaders who are going there are also being attacked.”

The DMK will take out a candle light march led by Kanimozhi towards the Raj Bhavan in Chennai on Monday to demand justice for the woman, PTI reported.

The Left and Congress will organise state-wide protests on Tuesday. A mega rally will be organised in Kolkata, while similar programmes will also be held in the other districts, according to a statement issued by Left Front Chairman Biman Bose and Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan of the Congress.

The Kolkata rally will begin at Esplanade and go through the Park Street to end near the Lady Brabourne College, it said.

The Chhattisgarh Congress will hold a silent protest on Monday against the Hathras incident in Uttar Pradesh, party leaders said.

On Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday took out a protest rally in Kolkata, calling the BJP the “biggest pandemic” torturing Dalits the most and running a “dictatorship” in the country.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on Saturday said, “No power on earth” can stop the voice of this family.”

(With PTI inputs)

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