The family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight after she was gangraped, alleged on Wednesday that the police were forcibly trying to get her body cremated in the middle of the night.
Local police officers, however, told the media that the cremation was being carried out “as per the wishes of the family”.
On September 14, the woman was raped in a village in Hathras by four men. After her condition deteriorated, she was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital where she breathed her last on Tuesday.
As news of her death spread, protests broke out in Delhi as well as in Hathras with all sections of society, including politicians, sports and film actors and activists, expressing their anguish and demanding justice for her.
On Tuesday night amid heavy police deployment, the family left from Safdarjung hospital. The body was taken by the Uttar Pradesh Police, which reached Hathras earlier than the family members, claimed a kin of the victim.
“The police have forcibly taken the body, and my father along with them for cremation. When my father reached Hathras, he was immediately taken (to the crematorium) by the police,” a brother of the deceased woman told the media over the phone at 1 am on Wednesday.
Another relative said that the woman’s father was accompanied by 30 to 40 people, mostly relatives, and others from their neighbourhood had gone to the crematorium near Bool Garhi village, under Chandpa police station limits, in the district in western Uttar Pradesh.
Senior police and administration officials were also present at the crematorium in the middle of the night, an official said.
Commenting on the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and said, “the family of a rape victim was denied the right to perform last rites of their daughter after she was raped and killed.”
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has also demanded the probe of the case in a fast track court. He has also demanded capital punishment for the accused.
Journalist Tanushree Pandey tweeted, “Police barricaded the family inside their home and burnt the body without letting anybody know.”
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