Here’s what it told the top court about the Hathras case in which a Dalit woman was allegedly gang-raped by four Thakur men.
The woman died of grievous injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on September 29, a fortnight after the attack.
According to LiveLaw, the UP government told the Supreme Court there were no signs suggestive of rape.
The government pointed to the provisional medical report of JJ Medical Hospital Aligarh, which did not have prima facie findings of rape. The government said the samples were sent to Forensic Science Laboratory, Agra, which also ruled out rape.
The report has also been used by the UP police to claim this was not a case of rape. The Wire’s Ismat Ara had reported that this contradicted the medico-legal report prepared by the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, where the woman was treated for two weeks.
The Indian Express quoted the Chief Medical Officer of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College as saying that the FSL report held no value because swabs were collected from the woman 11 days after the alleged rape.
″... government guidelines strictly say forensic evidence can only be found up to 96 hours after the incident. This report can’t confirm rape in this incident,” he said.
Express also reported that the FSL’s conclusion had been contradicted by other medical reports.
Dr Hamza Malik, president of the Resident Doctor’s Association of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, told NDTV that the woman’s dying declaration was “valid in court” and would be used as “proof”.
The government told the court that the pre-dawn cremation of the woman’s body was done to avoid a law-and-order situation and that her family had agreed to attend the cremation, Bar&Bench reported.
The government said it had received intelligence reports that the case was being exploited and given a “caste/communal colour”.
However, this had been contradicted by the Hathras family who told multiple media outlets soon after the incident that the police had burnt the woman’s body without their permission.
The woman’s brother told HuffPost India’s Betwa Sharma last week that neither the authorities nor the police at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi had informed the family about this when they headed back to the Hathras with her body on the afternoon of 29 September.
“The police followed them home and insisted they attend her cremation, the brother said. “They were forcibly taking my father and brother,” he said. “They were putting so much pressure on us. They said you have to cremate her now. We had to lock the gate of the house.””
To Hindustan Times, the brother said: “The police agreed that we would get to cremate her at 6am, but suddenly they went ahead and cremated her at 2.30am itself.”
The government claimed in court that social media, certain sections of the print and electronic media and political parties were making deliberate and planned attempts to incite caste or communal riots in the state using these recent events, despite “diligent investigation”.
“Such vicious propaganda is also leading to a law and order situation in various districts where the district units of rival political parties are instigating and mobilising the people to come on streets to hold protests based on such doctored images and baseless allegations,” it said.
The statement was in line with the UP police’s claim on Monday of a “conspiracy”.
Adityanath had also said that a “conspiracy” was being hatched against his government.
These comments come at a time when many of the UP police and government’s actions on the case have been contradicted by media reports and the woman’s family members and criticised by Opposition politicians.
The UP government urged the Supreme Court to direct a CBI probe into the case, saying it will ensure that no vested interests is able to create a fake and false narrative with “oblique motives”.
However, over the past few days the family has been demanding a judicial inquiry into the case through the Supreme Court.
The woman’s brother has said they do not want a CBI probe but an investigation held under a retired Supreme Court judge.
The government said it also wanted CBI’s probe to include the “criminal conspiracy” to spread “caste conflict”.
However, the administration has taken no action against the protest and gatherings held by upper caste men in the Hathras village, in violation of Section 144 imposed in the area. One such meeting was held at a BJP leader’s residence.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it by October 8 on the steps taken to protect witnesses in the case and asked the Solicitor General to ascertain whether the family had chosen a lawyer.
Terming the incident as horrible and extraordinary, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it will ensure that investigation is smooth in the case.