The Hathras family spoke to the media and the Gandhi family on Sunday after the village borders were opened to allow them in. On Saturday, there was heavy UP police deployment at the Delhi-Noida flyway as Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi attempted a second visit to see the family. Police was seen clashing with Congress workers at the Delhi-UP border as the two were temporarily stopped on their way to the village.
On their visit, the Dalit woman’s mother told Indian Express, “She (Priyanka) sat with me, asked me about my daughter, how she died, what happened on September 14…. She asked about her cremation.”
“They just asked us about our daughter, and promised to help us get justice,” she said.
Social activist Yogita Bhayana, who was with the family at the time told Express that the family was asked whether they wanted a CBI inquiry, to which they said no.
Priyanka Gandhi later said their demands included a judicial inquiry through the Supreme Court and suspension of the district magistrate.
The Dalit woman’s mother told the Hindustan Times that until this horrific case “I didn’t even know the word, rape (in English). Today, I am having to prove that my daughter was raped.”
She recounted the horror of finding her daughter bleeding in the field and later taking her to the police station to file a complaint.
She said was she was alone with her daughter, who regained on September 17, and told her about the gang-rape and the names of the accused.
The woman’s brother told HT that they went to police and submitted a written complaint at the office of the Hathras superintendent of police on the same day but got no receipt.
The woman’s brother told HT that her body was brought back to the village on September 29 night after she succumbed to her injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
“The police agreed that we would get to cremate her at 6am, but suddenly they went ahead and cremated her at 2.30am itself,” her brother said.
While the police have contradicted the statements made by the family, several statements made by the family have alleged harassment and intimidation by the police and local authorities in the last week.
Following their meeting with the family, Priyanka Gandhi listed some of the demands and questions of the victim’s family.
“Questions of Hathras victim’s family ― 1. A judicial probe be conducted through the Supreme Court. 2. Hathras DM be suspended and not given a big post. Why our daughter’s body was burnt using petrol without our permission.
“4. Why we are being repeatedly misled and threatened. 5. For humanity’s sake, we brought ‘chita se phool’, but how do we believe that this dead body is that of our daughter?” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted in Hindi. ‘Chita se phool’ generally means collecting remains after cremation.
It is the right of this family to get answers to these questions and the UP government will have to give answers, the Congress general secretary in-charge UP said.
After meeting the victim’s family, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “I met the Hathras victim’s family and understood their pain. I assured them that we are standing with them in this difficult time and will provide all help in getting justice for them.”
“The UP government will not be able to act in an arbitrary way as the whole country is standing for ensuring justice to the daughter of the country,” he said in the tweet in Hindi.
While several Congress MPs such as Shashi Tharoor, P L Punia, Partap Singh Bajwa, Deepender Hooda, as well as leaders like Jitin Prasada and Sushmita Dev reached the DND flyway, only a few proceeded beyond the border.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly gang-raped at a village in Hathras by four Thakur men on September 14. After her condition deteriorated, she was referred to the Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital where she breathed her last on Tuesday.
Her body was forcefully cremated by the police in the early hours of Wednesday. Local police officers continue to claim the cremation was carried out “as per the wishes of the family”.
(With PTI inputs)