The Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday said that the forensic report of the 19-year-old woman from Hathras, who died in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, showed that she was not raped.
ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the cause of her death is an injury to the neck and trauma resulting due to it, citing a forensic science laboratory (FSL) report.
“Even the woman in her statement to police did not mention about rape but talked about marpeet (beating) only,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Police took immediate action in the case and now we will identify those who tried to disturb social harmony and create caste violence,” the ADG added, claiming that people “distorted facts” in the media. The UP Police has generated massive outrage over its handling of the case, including allegedly cremating the woman’s body without her family’s consent.
The police’s stand is contrary to several media reports on the woman’s statement. In her statement to the police on 22 September, the woman had said that four men raped her on 14 September when she had gone to collect firewood, according to Scroll.
The accused were arrested and charged with attempt to murder, which was changed to murder after her death, The Hindu reported. After the woman’s statement was taken, the charges of gang-rape were added, the report said.
An NDTV report also said that according to the woman’s family, the police had at first accused her of lying about her injuries. “The police had initially registered an attempted murder case but added rape charges only after the woman’s formal statement a week after the incident, when she was able to speak,” the report said.
A Wednesday report from The Indian Express also quoted Hathras DM Praveen Kumar as saying, “On 14 September, we registered a case of attempt to murder and under the SC/ST Act on the complaint of the victim’s brother. Later, the woman told the police about the rape. We will take the case to a fast-track court.”
Retired IPS officer N.C. Asthana told The Wire that rape cannot necessarily be ruled out according to the “definition of rape as amended by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.
Protests were held in many parts of the country on Wednesday and Thursday, demanding justice for the woman’s family. The UP administration has locked down Hathras village, claiming fears of Covid-19 spread.
Protests have erupted in several parts of the country to demand justice and Opposition leaders have slammed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, demanding his resignation.
(With PTI inputs)